Middle Schoolers Share Their Biggest Fears On The First Day Of School

"It took me a year to find just one friend."

A recent project put together by Kleenex Brand in conjunction with Yale University has yielded a remarkable video released just two days ago that takes an honest look at the emotional lives of adolescents on the cusp of entering middle school.

The video, entitled "Commitment to Care," comes as a part of the tissue-maker's Care initiative benefitting teachers and students. It reveals some of the anxieties and fears that attend the transition from childhood to adolescence, and from primary to middle school: fears that everyone, regardless of social station, has experienced at one time or another.

While cynics might write the video off as commercial-making, we have a different take on it. It serves as both a piece of art — an aesthetic exercise in cinematography and evocation — as well as an opportunity to empathize both with the kids in the video and, to some extent, the remnants of our own inner middle schooler who still knows what it's like to fear rejection or to enter one of life's many arenas as an initiate, as the new kid, as the outsider.

As a piece of art, "Commitment to Care" reveals some of the techniques that make for emotionally satisfying videos. As with short films like Navin Kumar's unforgettable Chalk or last year's astounding ad spot by Pandora Jewelry that showed the unique connection between mothers and children, the video is shot in bright light and soft focus, creating a mood that undercuts the theme of anxiety. Enhancing the lighting is a subtle soundtrack consisting of a guitar and what sounds like chimes of some kind that, as the video progresses, slowly builds into a confident rhythm.

What makes this video work, however, are the kids themselves. The children are allowed to tell their stories, presumably in their own words, and the result is a natural and organic glimpse at a world that, as adults, we may still relate to, but without the same urgency that we experience as children.

That alone makes the commercial worth watching as we consider our own commitments to care, both for ourselves and others.

(H/T: Little Things)

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