"One that beareth a torch shadoweth oneself to give light to others."
The Volunteer Creed is cemented into the University of Tennessee campus and each of us is meant to live by it. We hear about it at orientation, there are seminars about it, we are reminded of this torch we bear every time we walk to the Haslam Business Building, but, to my fellow Vols, we are not bearing the torch so far this year.
College is so stressful and we all have a lot going on, but we cannot use that as an excuse to act poorly towards each other as well as our professors, administrations, and staff members. On a serious note, we have been receiving an excessive amount of emails about harassment and robberies and that is simply unacceptable. We are supposed to be giving our light to others, supporting other students, not harming them and hiding their light. I really push everyone, including myself, on UT's campus to start checking yourself and your friends. If you hear about someone wanting to or having already stolen from someone or harmed someone in any way, do not stay silent in those moments. These are times you have to at least check on people and try to report these incidences to police.
On a less serious matter, we are failing each other on a day to day basis. This is a mentally straining time in the semester and if you notice someone you sit near in class starts missing multiple days at a time give them some of your light, reach out and make sure everything is okay. If you notice people you live next to in a dorm constantly looking upset and overwhelmed ask them if they need help, or leave them a note of encouragement if nothing else.
The point I am trying to get across is that college is hard, life is hard, we are all living weekend to weekend and holding on to every ounce of sleep and happiness we can. So just remember to treat people the way you expected to be treated, pray for our campus because we all need it, and try to commit one random act of kindness each day no matter how bad your day is going. Always remember, we all have the same goal: get to graduation, so be kind and be a volunteer.