A Reminder to Be Kind to Those Around You

A Reminder to Be Kind to Those Around You

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The other day I found myself in a pretty interesting situation. I was going to a Sunday basketball game against Mount St. Mary's. I met up with my friends, and we walked to the Xfinity Center.

When we got there, we did what we were supposed to and got scanned by the security and then went inside to get our ticket scanned. The woman that scanned my ticket asked me how I was, and I responded, while smiling, with "I'm good. How are you?"

That was all a pretty normal thing to do but then came the interesting part. After she scanned my ticket and checked my ID, I said "Thank you. Have a good day." She immediately responded with, "Thank you for smiling at me and talking to me."

I had just gotten thanked for saying thank you. This was so bizarre to me. I am a very extroverted person so talking to people comes naturally to me. I also grew up watching my dad talk to every cashier and employee we came in contact with when we were out. I always talk to people when I am out and about.

This got me thinking; if this woman had to thank me for smiling and thanking her, that must mean that barely anyone else had done that recently. Then I started observing others while leaving the dining hall.

The employee at the front always tells people to "have a good night," and rarely anyone says it back to them. The other day, the employee didn't say anything at first. So my friend and I both said something like "have a good day" or "have a good one." The woman working there looked utterly surprised that we said something to her. It took her a moment to reply to us.

Why are we so happy and comfortable with our friends, but the minute we encounter an employee we don't know, we turn cold and unfriendly?

There are so many people around us that are constantly doing stuff for us. On a college campus, there are the people that clean your dorms, make your food, clean the dining halls, work at sporting events, and work at convenience stores. These people do so much for the people around them, and it often goes unnoticed.

I think this is something that needs to be changed. We need to be more appreciative of these people and show our gratitude towards them.

I was heartbroken when I had this encounter at the Xfinity Center. We all need to be nicer to other people, but especially people that do little things for us. You never know what is going on in somebody's life that you don't know about.

A simple greeting, thank you or genuine smile can make all the difference in someone's day. It definitely doesn't go unnoticed. It is worth the five extra seconds to be nice to people.

This holiday season especially, I challenge you to spread a little bit of kindness and warmth wherever you go.

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10 Fun Facts About Animals That Will 100% Make Your Day

A little animal pick-me-up.

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The beautiful world that we live in is filled with so many different animals that are all unique and special. There's something to learn from each living creature on our Earth. Here are some facts about animals that will surely make you smile and maybe give you the pick up that you need!

1. 3% of the ice in Antarctica is made of penguin urine

Penguins really make their mark.

2. Dolphins name their friends

Dolphins associate a sound to each of their friends.

3. Cows love to listen to music

Cows have been shown to produce more milk when listening to slow music.

4. And they have best friends

They get stressed out when their best friend is not with them.

5. Honeybees know how to dance

They dance to survive and tell fellow honeybees where the flowers are.

6. Rats like to be tickled

Rats laugh when tickled. Who doesn't like to be tickled?

7. Squirrels will adopt orphans

If baby squirrels are left abandoned, fellow squirrels will take them in.

8. Elephants self-soothe

We all need some self love.

9. Worms want companionship and with companions snuggle

We all love to snuggle, even worms.

10. Quokka's can smile

I think I found my new favorite animal.

Hopefully, these facts about animals make you feel warm and fuzzy. Have a great day.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender Is Still Iconic, And Here's Why

Although it's a children's cartoon from the 2000s, ATLA remains one of the greatest shows ever made.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender ended in 2008, but I've watched the full series at least ten other times since then. I was a big fan of ATLA when it was first airing, but sometimes I marvel at how lasting it's impact is over a decade later. I've seen ATLA bumper stickers and tattoos depicting the four elements, not mention that I myself have a "Jasmine Dragon" sticker on my laptop resembling the Starbucks logo. ATLA was incredible. It's witty, fun, emotionally impactful, interesting in plot, and filled with relatable characters. "Korra" was a nice attempt to follow up on a passionate fanbase, but it ultimately didn't resonate with viewers to the same degree. That said, sometimes people wonder why I'm still so invested in a kid's cartoon from the 2000s. Here's why.

The show referenced a variety of cultures from around the world

If you've watched the show, you've probably realized that there aren't actually any "white" characters in the Avatar-verse. Not that European cultures aren't valid, but it is notable that the show was created as an appreciation of cultures that often go overlooked. The art and music were heavily influenced by East and South Asia, and the different nations clearly reference Asian and indigenous traditions. Earth Kingdom cities were based off of real cities in East Asia, and the culture depicted drew from various East Asian nations as well. The same applies to the fire nation, which was originally modeled off of Japan and China. The water tribes have their foundations in Inuit and Sireniki cultures, and the air nomads are based on Tibetans, Sri Lankan Buddhists, and Shaolin Monks. There are many other historical references throughout "Avatar," including a nod to ancient Mesopotamia in the Sun Warriors.

The characters were complex and relatable

"ATLA" didn't just give us a typical group of teenage heroes, with each one fitting into a typical mold. They were complex and realistic, and that's what made them relatable. We saw Aang balance his role as Avatar with his personal moral philosophy, all while experiencing the onset of puberty and young adulthood. We watched Katara struggle with responsibility as the main female role model in her family after her mother's death. We observed and related to Toph and Zuko's complex relationships with their families, including the influence that an abusive parent can have on a young life. We experienced the struggles of inferiority to "better" friends with Sokka, and even learned about toxic friendships with Mai and Ty Lee. These were all growing kids and teenagers, and nothing could have been more genuine.

"ATLA" gave us some incredible, strong female leads to look up to

Katara was truly the first feminist I ever encountered on television. Not only did she become a master waterbender in the span of weeks, she also taught the Avatar! And the whole time, she reminded us that strong fighters can be feminine too. Meanwhile, Toph showed us that just because a person has a disability, doesn't mean that they are defined by it. In fact, Toph's blindness only enhances her abilities, rather than holding her back. We also encounter powerful female characters like Azula (I know, she's evil, but that doesn't make her any less of a prodigy), Ty Lee, Mai, Suki (and all the Kyoshi warriors for that matter), Smellerbee, and even Princess Yue (who literally died for her people, mind you).

It made a deep, dramatic topic witty and fun

It occurred to me recently that "Avatar" is basically about imperialism and genocide. The Fire Nation decides to take over the world through military force, and it does so by exterminating an entire people and occupying and colonizing everyone else. For such a deep topic, you wouldn't think the show would be quite as fun as it is, but it is. I've restarted watching, and I find myself constantly laughing. With Sokka's sarcastic comments, Iroh's oddities, and everybody else's regular quips, "ATLA" is regularly lighthearted and never takes itself too seriously.

There's some real wise advice throughout

Finally, what "ATLA" is really known for, is its heart. Uncle Iroh provides us with a regular understanding of the world around us, encouraging us to see the world in balance and look for our true selves. His wise words ring true throughout childhood and adulthood. The underlying themes and messages of the show, including balance, friendship, love, and loyalty, all serve the greater purpose of advising the audience.

In summary, "Avatar" was amazing. If you haven't, I highly recommend you do. If you have, maybe go rewatch!

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