This year is coming to an end. I'm just as shocked as you are, don't worry. Seniors will graduate, freshman will get another year older (and hopefully wiser), and for everyone else in between, the promise of a much needed break is finally coming to fruition. Friends, students, and new alumni will say their good byes and leave the place they called home for the pass 10 or so months. Now where ever the summer will take you, have it be an internship, half way around the world, or the pool in your backyard, I would like to reiterate one thing I learned to earn its weight in gold throughout the entire course of this year: being kind.
Sure, I know that sounds cliche and probably something you claimed to have already learn in grade school but, there is no better time to brush up on those skills than the present. For me, it never occurred to me that being kind was something that doesn't stay the same. Just as individuals change and grow over time means that our actions should change too. If anything, we should now take a more active role in practicing kindness since we know a thing or two compared to our grade school selves. Just because we grow older doesn't mean that we have to abandon our participation in being kind.
As a first year college student, it never occurred to me now much being kind can go a long way. At times, things will just suck. Plain and simple. We experience hardship, heartbreak, and it sometimes feels like we are on our own. This is when kindness has its biggest weight. Whether it is the person in front of you that pays for your coffee, the friend that will stay up holding your hand, or the person a couple doors down that simply asks you "how are you doing?" can mean the world. They aren't these grand gestures by any means. I can guarantee you though, these things definitely can have a lasting impact.
We all live on this campus. Whether you choose to call a dorm, a sorority house, or an apartment home, we all make up the University of Illinois community. So, why not make it feel like a home? Participating in little acts of kindness can make someone feel less alone and more a part of something bigger than themselves. Throughout this year, I have had the privilege to meet some of the kindest people I know and their actions are something I will never forget. If you are all reading this, thank you for making this campus feel a little more like home.
Although we live in a world where it seems like kindness is becoming a lost art, it doesn't mean we have to act like it is. Over the summer and into the fall semester, I encourage you to try to do one kind thing a day. You may not realizing it but, you are helping make this world a better place, one good act at a time.