Humans of Harker: The Memesmith

Sian Smith channels her inner "reverse vampire"

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Humans of Harker: The Memesmith

"Generally, [be] flexible. [Live] your best life because who cares about other people's opinions? It's like, 'Oh, Sian, you're so weird,' but I'm like, 'Why do you care?' I'm living my best life. I carry around granola bars in my backpack. What's not to love?" Sian Smith (12) said.

Jin Tuan

"Generally, [be] flexible. [Live] your best life because who cares about other people's opinions? It's like, 'Oh, Sian, you're so weird,' but I'm like, 'Why do you care?' I'm living my best life. I carry around granola bars in my backpack. What's not to love?" Sian Smith (12) said.

Jin Tuan

Jin Tuan

"Generally, [be] flexible. [Live] your best life because who cares about other people's opinions? It's like, 'Oh, Sian, you're so weird,' but I'm like, 'Why do you care?' I'm living my best life. I carry around granola bars in my backpack. What's not to love?" Sian Smith (12) said.

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Purple socks printed with raccoons and the trash cans they foraged in kick up into the air as Sian Smith (12) wakes up from a nap, sliding up on the Shah couches in preparation for a no-filter interview.

“You speak as if I normally have a filter,” Sian said, narrowing her eyes.

Ask around about Sian, and you’ll hear her name repeated to you, then followed by a glowing descriptor: hilarious, cool, even iconic.

“Sian has a really good sense of self,” her friend Arushee Bhoja (12) said. “She always talks about how as long as you know what you’re like yourself, you don’t have to prove it to anyone else. That kind of concept is something that I’ve been able to apply to my life as well, and [I’ve] become more comfortable with knowing what I’m really like, and I don’t have to prove to other people or explain it to them.”

Sian’s mindset is simple and elegant: she allocates her energy efficiently, putting much of it into her passions, which she says are memes and her room. The latter is filled with birds, fish, and a plethora of plants, some of which are poisonous. The care-keeping of her room is neatly scheduled on a whiteboard. And for the rest of the work she has to do? A passing effort is more than enough.

Well-known within the student body for her memes on the Harker meme page and beyond, Sian pours much of her time into the conception of these posts. In order to remove a watermark from a video she was working on, Sian, who was using the free trial of an editing program, spent $40 to buy the product. However, she poured more than just money into this meme for the good of the Hardy Harker community.

“One time, she spent two hours figuring out how to make a video meme for the meme page and then emailed her Japanese teacher because she didn’t have time to finish the assignment because she was tired,” Sian’s friend Katrina Ipser (12) said.

A passionate Sian and her everyday self are two different creatures. Upper school Orchestra and Jazz band director Dr. David Hart sees the shift in Jazz Band.

“[When she’s passionate] she’s okay with being demanding to me, even like, ‘When are we going to do this piece?’” Dr. Hart said. “She’ll say some cool jokes, and some of them are sarcastic in a good way. […] But when she’s into [something], that just sort of amps up.”

While her actions confirm her prowess in the fields she is passionate about, Sian keeps words about herself to a minimum. Dr. Hart recalls when Sian voluntarily switched from saxophone to trumpet in her junior year to better complement her peers in jazz ensemble and willingly sacrificed her free period to join orchestra since they needed more brass.

“She might be one of the most improved trumpet players we’ve ever had, because that’s a hard instrument just to pick up by your junior year, and especially switching from saxophone…. And she takes on challenges, it seems, with ease, whereas I feel like it would be really a struggle for me,” Hart said. “It’s a classic thing for her in my opinion, she jumps out and is really a team player and has helped to make both groups a lot of fun.”

Katrina adds a less glowing but nevertheless admiring angle to this narrative.

“She’s one of the laziest people I know, but she gave up her only free period to add a second music class,” Katrina said.

Sian doesn’t feel the need to concern herself with others’ perceptions, but, as loathe as she is to accept it, she is a natural giver.

“I’m like a reverse vampire,” she said.

From blood donations to granola bars (and memes), Sian gives to others in all aspects of her life.

“Sian donated blood until she became anemic,” Katrina said. “[Also,] you wouldn’t expect it, but she does camp counselor stuff where she works with kids all day.”

For friends and peers, however, Sian has an important condition before she opens her “fanny pack that contains the world” to you.

“You have to level up with my friendship before you unlock that part, because I’m not gonna be like, ‘Oh yeah I’m such a nice, giving person,’” Sian said. “I’m nice, but people have to work for it.

In line with Sian’s style, her attitude can be summed up in one seemingly flippant comment.

“Generally, [be] flexible. [Live] your best life because who cares about other people’s opinions? It’s like, ‘Oh, Sian, you’re so weird,’ but I’m like, ‘Why do you care?’ Sucker,” she said. “I’m living my best life. I carry around granola bars in my backpack. What’s not to love?”