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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50 One-Liners College Girls Swap With Their Roomies As Much As They Swap Clothes

"What would I do without you guys???"
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1. "Can I wear your shirt out tonight?"

2. "Does my hair look greasy?"

3. "We should probably clean tomorrow..."

4. "What should I caption this??"

5. "Is it bad if I text ____ first??"

6. "Should we order pizza?"

7. *Roommate tells an entire story* "Wait, what?"

8. "How is it already 3 AM?"

9. "I need a drink."

10. "McDonalds? McDonalds."

11. "GUESS WHAT JUST HAPPENED."

12. "Okay like, for real, I need to study."

13. "Why is there so much hair on our floor?"

14. "I think I'm broke."

15. "What do I respond to this?"

16. "Let's have a movie night."

17. "Why are we so weird?"

18. "Do you think people will notice if I wear this 2 days in a row?"

19. "That guy is so stupid."

20. "Do I look fat in this?"

21. "Can I borrow your phone charger?

22. "Wanna go to the lib tonight?"

23. "OK, we really need to go to the gym soon."

24. "I kinda want some taco bell."

25. "Let's go out tonight."

26. "I wonder what other people on this floor think of us."

27. "Let's go to the mall."

28. "Can I use your straightener?"

29. "I need coffee."

30. "I'm bored, come back to the room."

31. "Should we go home this weekend?"

32. "We should probably do laundry soon."

33. "Can you see through these pants?"

34. "Sometimes I feel like our room is a frat house..."

35. "Guys I swear I don't like him anymore."

36."Can I borrow a pencil?"

37. "I need to get my life together...."

38. "So who's buying the Uber tonight?"

39. "Let's walk to class together."

40. "Are we really pulling an all-nighter tonight?"

41. "Who's taking out the trash?"

42. "What happened last night?"

43. "Can you help me do my hair?"

44. "What should I wear tonight?"

45. "You're not allowed to talk to him tonight."

46. "OMG, my phone is at 1 percent."

47. "Should we skip class?"

48. "What should we be for Halloween?"

49. "I love our room."

50. "What would I do without you guys???"

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Gabaldon

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If You Want To Continually Flourish, You Need To Become Your Own Role Model

We must learn to chase after a goal that is ever changing and developing at a rate we might never be able to keep up with in order to ensure we are constantly growing.

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From the moment we are born, we are thrown into a perpetual cycle of trial and error to learn how to navigate the world around us. Even now, we are still mediating our place and purpose in society. We learn by doing: we watch others, process the information or behavior, make our own modifications and then re-enact this behavior. We instinctively search for role models, someone to look up to for guidance when we feel lost and unsure of ourselves.

I remember all of the open-ended essays and application essays I had to write about who my role model was. People seem to think that they can learn more about someone based on who they designate as their number one role model. In reality, at least for me, they got what I thought my role model should be. I was always trapped in a mix of my own uncertainty and indecision and would, ironically, turn to people around me to see what they put. Don't get me wrong, my mom is someone I look up to in many ways. I've always been able to appreciate bits and pieces of people's characteristics, but never anything substantial enough to go anywhere near genuinely labeling them as a role model. I breezed through years of answering this question by resorting to half-heartedly designating my mom as my role model. Fast forward to the 2014 Oscars where Matthew McConaughey won Best Actor.

In his acceptance speech he said, "You see, every day, and every week, and every month, and every year of my life, my hero is always ten years away. I'm never going to be my hero. I'm not going to obtain that and that's fine with me because it keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing".

I had watched this speech live, but it didn't fully resonate with me until a few years later when I rediscovered a clip of the speech on Instagram. You know how sometimes you just see something that you could've seen numerous times before but in that instant it finally clicks? It's such a simple concept, but my mind was blown. Finally, there was a concept of having a role model that I could wholeheartedly get on board with. He rationalized what I had been feeling all those years: the desire of labeling the best version of myself as my role model but pushing that aside in fear of being labeled vain or egotistic.

Sometimes in choosing others to be our role models, we begin to lose parts of ourselves along the way. In some cases, people try so much to be like someone else that they forget that their role model succeeded by excelling at being themselves. Trying to model yourself after someone else to a more extreme extent can also turn out to be more discouraging than motivating. We can't excel at being someone else and because of this, we may end up feeling discouraged by our perceived shortcomings. In choosing a better version of yourself as your role model you are not only gaining full acceptance and appreciation for your own strengths and weaknesses, but you're setting yourself on a path for constant growth. By continually having something to work toward, you avoid becoming stagnant and complacent just because you've achieved whatever goal you set out for yourself.

What happens when we achieve a goal? We feel pride in our accomplishment, pride that gives us a sense of fulfillment and security. This sense of fulfillment and security is the very thing that can stifle growth. If the glass is already full, why would we continue to fill it? The second we stop learning and being motivated to grow, we lose one of the most important traits that distinguish us as humans: the ability and hunger to understand and augment the world around us. By setting a static goal for ourselves, we have defined our success and therefore placed a limit on what we can accomplish when, in reality, our potential is limitless.

We've all heard the phrase, "the journey is the destination," a million times and there's a reason it's so well-known. It's undeniably true. Sometimes people work so hard to achieve a certain goal that they skip over enjoying the process. If you don't love the process as much, if not more, than the goal, you're doing it wrong. Everything is a learning experience. If you love the process, the fact that you're working towards a goal that never ceases to change becomes much easier to accept.

Just like a baby learns to crawl by moving towards a desirable object that is moved the moment they're about to reach it, we must learn to chase after a goal that is ever changing and developing at a rate that we might never be able to keep up with. It's okay to never achieve this kind of goal because it ensured that we never stopped learning and aspiring towards greatness which is successful in itself.

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