One Word Project

Language is a beautiful thing, it helps us feel connected to one another and allows us to communicate. The true beauty of language is the amount of words we have to describe one another and ourselves. I asked Boise High students to describe themselves in one positive word to truly grasp how wide and far connections can spread.

Some stated the more obvious answers like kind and smart, it was sad to see how quickly they came to this generic answer. It felt as if they didn’t believe it, and were just saying it because we’ve been trained to do so since 5 years old. When asked why, these students dug through their brains, racking their minds for appropriate reasoning, but many seemed to struggle. 

I appreciate the people who pondered the question.They were given as much time as they needed due to the fact this is not an easy question. Some of the most beautiful answers came from the people who took the longest to respond.

One answer that really stuck out even though it wasn’t one word was, “Unapologetically angry.” This came from a 5 ft blonde girl. When asked why, she said she was tired of not being allowed to be angry because she was a woman and supposed to be timid.

 “Men are allowed to be angry and called successful for their attitudes, however women are called things way worse than that for expressing their feelings. I am sick and tired and angry about it.” Her response was huge. You can see a girl that was tired of fighting but still angry enough to fight for more. 

Another person stated with simplicity the word, “alone”. This was one that seemed curious because alone usually has negative implications, 

They stated that being alone can be comforting, it doesn’t have to be bad all the time. It can be nice doing something for yourself and spending time with the one person who will always be there for you, You.

Some of these answers were unexpected and all resonated. It was refreshing to be able to understand someone with just a simple word. 

A word that many seemed to share was the word individual or some form of it. People value their identity and were happy to explain that they value how they are unique and different. 

We all have unique identities to preserve and become prideful about. It’s nice to see that some students have already come to that conclusion.

The One Word Project really shows the details of humanity and the importance of language. It is simple to be able to connect with people and that is the great theme of life.


Some of the words that students have said about themselves (Credit: