This has been my busiest semester thus far in my college career. Better yet, the busiest time of my life. With myself and my peers constantly getting wrapped up in plans for the future, sending emails and editing cover letters, organizing group meetings, and extracurriculars, it is easy to focus in on the screens in front of us. Those screens, I’m sure you all are very familiar with, are the screens of our “devices” that get us from place to place, from day to day and from relationship to relationship. Not only do we communicate on them, but we become utterly infatuated with their abilities that we forget about this campus’ abilities. Sure, it’s a pretty place. That is not the reason I opened this word document though. I am writing for the people here: the people who do a much better job of brightening my day than any text, email, or notification ever will. So, let’s shift our attention from our iOS 7 devices and shift it towards the face-to-face contact that can benefit us more than we know.
Without further ado, here are some ways to meet some of the most genuine/interesting people on this campus:
1.) Office Hours: While it is easy to send an email for the answer to a quick homework question, it’s worth it to go the extra mile (what my mom used to say when I didn’t put my dishes in the dishwasher) and visit a teacher’s office hours. I experienced first hand the benefits of this just yesterday when the head of the HPM department just happened to be free while I waited for my advising appointment. He offered me advice on future goals and even opened my eyes to a new grad program I wasn’t aware of.
2.) Ray: Enough said. Strike up a conversation with one of the workers or the person behind you in line. I know it’s not easy, but warning Dot and Fran that my car isn’t chipped to wave in front of the machine and instead has to be swiped is always worth the “Oh, thank you for telling me that!”
3.) Concannon Staff: The headphones may already be pumping you up with Pandora Workout Radio when you swipe your ID to enter the gym, but give the building supervisor and student worker a friendly wave. After all, they did move the swipe location to directly in front of the desk just this year, so avoid the awkward no-eye contact “already in the zone” thing and surprise them with some people skills.
4.) Slavin: You all know those places where you sit down and set out to get everything on your to-do list accomplished, but when it comes down to it, these places are great for people watching. Perfect example: Slavin Overlook Lounge and lower Alumni seating area. Some of my best but most unexpected conversations happen in these quiet, cozy areas where the stress level isn’t quite as high as the library and there is maximum comfort.
5.) Ruane Starbucks: Having a few friends who work at the newly opened Starbucks in the Ruane Center, I have heard nothing but good things about the staff there. With some tough competition across campus with the energetic Dunkins workers, Starbucks certainly holds their own. In between a tiresome test and study group, a fall Pumpkin spice latte is just what the doctor ordered. And a splash of some friendly baristas certainly doesn’t hurt.
6.) Library Basement: I was lucky enough to have my first official conversation with Father Cuddy at the beginning of this year and am regretful that I spent three years here without his uplifting, yet very down to earth conversations. The library basement is a great place to catch up with some Friars or grab some quiet study time. Regardless, there are always new people looking to strike up conversation.
7.) Residence Hall Directors/RA’s: Sure, they are disciplinarians and have a job to do, but their job is so much more than what students see on a day to day basis. They work day in and day out to make our living experience comfortable and enjoyable. While answering some questions at the Study Abroad Fair just a few weeks, I was able to catch up with my Freshmen year Hall Director, Marian, who happens to be vacationing in Australia in a few months. She saw the pamphlets on the table in front of me and I immediately flooded her with things to do and places to see. We ended up catching up for a while and I have to say I wish I had gotten to know her much sooner. As a freshman in McVinney, I had no idea how resourceful Marian and the other Residence life employees could be. I do know, however, that she planned countless events for myself a few hundred other freshmen, so to be able to send her a list of Sydney attractions was pretty special. I suppose I owed her back what she once indirectly helped me with: exploring a new place.
“Devices” will continue being a part of our everday lives, but let’s work together to embrace some more face-to-face in Friartown.