Just say ‘Hello’
Sarah Swiderski | Monday, December 3, 2012
Like many Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame students, I am currently keeping myself from falling into a school-induced coma by consuming obnoxious amounts of caffeine and listening to Pandora as I sprint to the finish line of the semester. I am not the only senior, or student, for that matter, who is feeling the strain before finals week even commences.
Because we are all so busy, I think we sometimes forget to notice those around us. Before Thanksgiving break, my mom came to pick me up. As we took the stairs down from my fifth-floor single we passed a couple of other students. Not taking any notice of them, I continued on my way – but my mom, behind me, said hello to them.
“Sarah, don’t you guys ever say hello to each other?” she said, shocked at the indifference I and the other students showed to one another.
This made me think: Do I say hello to other people as I encounter them or do I ignore my fellow human beings?
This past week, I have tried to look beyond the stress in my own life and say hello to everyone I encounter in the hall or in the stairwell alone. There are three responses to this: Some people smile and say “Hello” or “Hey” back, some just smile and others will flat-out ignore me.
Since some people responded, I concluded that students in general are not so stressed that they can’t take notice of their surroundings. It’s more likely that they just feel awkward and don’t want to confront the situation.
I’m challenging others and myself to say hello to each other despite the uncomfortable feeling, even during a stressful time like the week before finals.
Students at Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame are serious about their studies. It’s easy to ignore the girl passing in the hall alone or the other boy in the elevator, but interacting with a new student allows us to build the community that is Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame.
Some people think I am a bit strange for trying to say hello to everyone. If you’re still not convinced, here are three reasons to say hello:
1. You learn how to approach people you have never met – a useful skill for the real world beyond college.
2. You might meet someone who could change your life.
3. You may make someone’s bad day a little better.
So instead of pulling out your phone and pretending to text next time you pass someone in the hall, look up, smile and say hello. Who knows who you might encounter?
Contact Sarah Swiderski at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.