Why “UnSung Heroes” Should Be On Every Campus

Why “UnSung Heroes” Should Be On Every Campus

We need to lift our heads up from our phones, say hello, and engage.
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In the October 13th issue of the Washington Post, the story of a Georgetown student and janitor was shared. The student, Febin Bellamy, who had previously felt an imaginary wall between himself and the janitor, engaged in conversation with him and learned his story. After learning the story of this particular janitor, Oneil Batchelor, an immigrant from Jamaica, Bellamy was inspired to learn more about the stories of other workers on his campus. As he got to know more of the workers on his campus, he wanted to create a way to connect students to workers and what began as a class project is now a campus-wide organization.

Bellamy began by creating a Facebook page called Unsung Heros, which shared small profiles of workers around his campus. Eventually, these stories inspired students to get involved in supporting the dreams of the workers on their campus and have created successful fundraisers. Batchelor's entrepreneurial dream of owning his own business was made a reality by a fundraiser, which has allowed him to start his own business catering his now-famous jerk chicken. Students also raised money for a cashier at their dining hall to fly round-trip to South Sudan and visit his family that he hasn't seen in 45 years.

Unsung Heroes is an inspiring project that should exist on every campus. Each school has hard-working, under-appreciated workers with their own inspiring stories that deserve to be shared. We, as students of these institutions, are fortunate enough to be given the opportunity of higher education and should be grateful to those who enhance the experience for us. As Bellamy explains, "Everybody's in their own world, a lot of students have good hearts and were raised right. It's just not always easy for them to get to know people around them." Most of us were raised with values of appreciating others, but allow this divide to be created between us and our campus workers.

So, what can we do about it? We can begin by engaging with those who work across our campus. Instead of staring at our phones as we walk past them in the halls, we can smile and say hi and wish them a good day. I make a conscious effort to engage with custodians on my hall and workers I see daily across campus, even if its just a smile or simple "thank you". We must remember that without these hard-working individuals, our college experience would not be the same.

The idea behind Unsung Heroes is one that should exist across all campuses, to appreciate those who are undervalued but deserving of the highest praise. I am proud that my school, The College of Wooster, has started an initiative to grant living and competent wages to these workers called the Living Wage Campaign, but we still need to do more. We need to not just demand adequate wages for our workers, but we need to know them and respect them. So, I challenge everyone to engage with these unsung heroes that exist across their campuses and learn their stories. Even the smallest effort and interaction can make a difference in someone's day, just lift your head up from your phone and say "hi".

Cover Image Credit: nbcnews.com

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 A.M. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest,

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old doom room is now filled with two freshman trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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I Got Rejected From My Internship, But I'm Stronger For It

We face rejection throughout our life but it's up to us for how we handle it.
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As long as I can remember I have faced rejection. Whether it was a simple "no" or someone reciting the Gettysburg Address to me, I remember the word "no" being told to me a lot in life. When I entered college I thought that the time for being told no was over but as life has shown, you never know what you’re going to get.

We always hear the phrase what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and while this is a remarkable phrase it doesn’t come without me thinking about how I got here or how I have picked myself up. Rejection has taught me to have a tougher skin and get used to hearing the answer "no" and responding with "OK, yeah, cool I’ll be fine," when on the inside I might not be. Things aren’t always going to be how we want them but sometimes an opportunity coming to an end can open up another door for something possibly better

In December I applied for a marketing and sales internship that was selling advertising space in college planners to different companies throughout Tuscaloosa. I had worked the past four summers at Camp Ramah Darom and I felt it was time to get an internship before graduating college. After interviewing and answering questions I received a phone call excitedly telling me I had received one of the four spots for the University of Alabama team.

After receiving this call, I immediately told my friends, family, and classmates and they were excited for me as well. After years of getting rejected from internships because “I didn’t have enough experience” or “we thought someone else would be a better fit,” I was finally going to have my first internship and be able to show future employers why I belong at their company.

I filled out the acceptance form, bought clothing for the internship and then began looking for summer housing. While I was so excited there was something off about this internship, as I hadn’t heard from them as frequently. After calling my regional manager to make sure everything was going as planned regarding the summer she responded with “Yes I am still recruiting for the team”. I thought everything was ready and I didn’t have to worry about the program until May. A month went by and I decided I needed to know more information because the start of training was rapidly approaching.

I took matters into my own hands and called my regional manager. After leaving a message on her voicemail I received a voicemail from her with saying “Hi, Jacob, I am sorry I missed your call please reach out to me I have some news for you if that’s what I can call it.” Hearing this voicemail I immediately knew my internship had fallen through and I had to start looking for a new one immediately.

After getting off the phone I called my dad to tell him the news. The day I received the phone call was supposed to be exciting as it was my formal weekend but all I could think about was another sign of rejection in my life. My dad asked me where my mind was and I didn’t even have a proper answer. How do you express into words how you feel when you are assured for months that something is about to happen and at the last moment you are told no? That’s how I felt at this time. I was upset, frustrated and I was back to square one. I thought I had come so far in the internship step in my life but it turns out I just went full circle.

Looking back at this moment I can say I am still somewhat upset about it as a whole. Whether it was questioning the company about my internship or how they stated they had sent me an email but I didn’t receive one until two weeks after my phone call there are times I am still mad at how the outcome was handled. In life, I have learned there are two ways of looking at instances. One, staying mad and never trying to do better or two, flipping the page and starting over.

As much as I hated starting over the internship process it was for the best and it did give me other opportunities to consider.

So what does this have to do with rejection? When we are rejected we have two options — we can either sulk and feel sorry for ourselves or we can turn the page and try again differently. We will always face some sort of adversity and rejection throughout our life and that is something we need to learn.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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