A Call for Empathy, Compassion and Kindness

Kristina Rodriguez ’19, Opinion Editor

As the semester is coming to a close, I think this is the time to step back and reflect on ourselves a bit.

The college years are going by really fast and I’ve noticed that I haven’t done all the things I wanted to while at Dickinson. I feel like I’ve missed out on certain experiences because my sole focus is passing all of my courses and making it to the next semester. I get it- it’s not healthy to just work all the time, I’ve said that in a previous opinion piece- but it’s easier said than done because at the end of the day we need good grades to graduate and not waste the money we put into this college institution and jobs just want to see a degree.

All of us Dickinsonians go to a prestigious school and that prestige comes with expectations- not only on the students, but also on the professors, faculty, and staff who all contribute and are held accountable for their roles in the Dickinson community. I think that sometimes we forget that we are ALL human. We, as students, tend to be selfish and whine when we get stressed about the papers and projects that our professors have been preparing us for all semester, even though somehow it always ends up being alright in the end.

I’m not trying to say that our stresses and anxieties are invalid by any means. I think mental health is essential for us to thrive and even survive the expectations that the college institution brings on us. However, the mental health of our professors, faculty, and staff is also important and we tend to overlook them which is unfair because we as students also impose many expectations upon them as well.

We go the entire semester not actively going to our professor’s office hours and then when it comes time for the final paper we are all of a sudden bombarding their office hours. Sometimes we also only go to office hours only if they are mandatory.

And then we expect our professors to extend the deadline just for us- and perhaps it is for a valid reason, but sometimes it’s because we dropped the ball on our own work and we are the sole people responsible. Professors have lives outside their jobs, too.

But we tend to forget that, or simply to not care. Yet we expect them to care about our free time. Also, can we all actively try to be decent human beings and not make our cleaning staff work harder than they already do for us? I think that as adults we need to learn how to clean up after ourselves at this point. We won’t have someone to clean up after us for the rest of our lives and there are just some things that are so disgusting that our cleaning staff has to not only see, but clean up.

It’s simply unfair and unkind of us to be so careless about others’ mental health, emotions, and hard work. Also, most people don’t even talk to the cleaning staff, who clean our spaces each day or to the dining services staff who work hard to serve us our food and also clean up after us. The least we could do is acknowledge their presence, smile, and say hi. Rudeness shouldn’t be an option. We are all human beings at the end of the day and have expectations placed on us that we may not want but ultimately must deal with. Let’s live our lives with kindness, empathy, and compassion towards ourselves, our peers, and our staff / faculty.