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Finals time brings to light a social quirk many Hillsdale stu­dents seem to possess. Throughout the aca­demic year, and most obvi­ously during finals, stu­dents identify and take pride in how busy they are.

Take a stroll through AJ’s at 11 p.m. and eerily similar con­ver­sa­tions can be heard from booth to booth. One student will begin con­ver­sation with a sigh, saying they had a paper, a pre­sen­tation, and an exam all this week. The other student will respond they had two papers, a mock-trial event, and a Jackson rough draft to boot. It mirrors how old men exchange fish stories, with the fish getting bigger with each fish­erman you encounter.

Hillsdale stu­dents should take pride in the rig­orous aca­demic insti­tution they attend. Most stu­dents know the aca­demic rigor rating of our school com­petes with and beats many Ivy League uni­ver­sities. Perhaps that’s the point: Why are stu­dents bragging and com­plaining about how busy they are when we all share the same hectic expe­rience?

Stu­dents who find them­selves playing verbal poker with their class­mates about their hectic homework should realize they are a playing a game where every player basi­cally has the same cards. A student who tries to up the ante by claiming they have another paper or several more hours of reading should realize it is all for nought.

A student’s brag­gado­cious and prideful com­ments about their hectic schedule will almost always fall on deaf ears for two reasons.

First, each student has their own set of assign­ments, extracur­ric­ulars, and per­sonal problems to deal with as well. They will obvi­ously be more con­cerned with these. Sec­ondly, the pride in an over­booked schedule is unwar­ranted. There are roughly 1,400 other stu­dents who share the same expe­rience.

Strolling through the first floor ­of the library — the “talk­ative” floor ­­­— one hears ter­mi­nology similar to that used by sol­diers going through bootcamp. Stu­dents lean over their class­mates’ com­puters saying how they are: “sur­viving,” “hanging in there,” or “just trying to make it until Christmas.”

For a school that was ranked the 16th college in the country for the hap­piest stu­dents, these com­ments of dread seem out of place. That is because the moti­vation behind these phrases is not impas­sioned venting, but rather pro­jection of an image of the student as an excep­tional worka­holic amongst other worka­holics.

Com­plaining is to be expected, but looking down on others or growing an ego based on another student’s schedule is unnec­essary.

Student culture would benefit if this unwar­ranted, prideful behavior was replaced by sym­pathy. Instead of attempting to one-up a classmate, acknowl­edging their stress and offering to help or cel­e­brate with them will provide a mutual benefit for both parties.

Hillsdale College should take pride in the beau­tiful struggle that comes with aca­demic rigor, but stu­dents should be ashamed of the social culture they’ve fos­tered in an attempt to stand out as the most stressed and busy members of one of the most rig­orous col­leges in the country.

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Thomas Novelly
Collegian Editor-in-Chief, Thomas Novelly was born in Novi, Michigan, but was raised in Franklin, Tennessee, making him a self-proclaimed "Yankee gone South." Thomas began writing for The Collegian as a sophomore, and since has served as a reporter, columnist, and Assistant City News Editor. He has also worked for two major publications, interning at the Washington Free Beacon in D.C. and The Tennessean in Nashville. His work has been seen in National publications such as CBS News, National Review Online, Stars And Stripes, and USA Today. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.
  • Ellsworth_Toohey

    Saying your “busy” often means the person who wants you time isn’t worthy of it. Yet I’ve found it’s a phrase that tran­scends social eco­nomic strata

    Two cases in point, at a CCA ten years or so ago, Walter Williams was speaking and after it was over I had hoped to speak with for 30 seconds on a question yet we got into a 20 minute ram­bling con­ver­sation about the civil war being our second rev­o­lu­tionary war and ended up with the New Hamp­shire Free State project. Another time by chance I ran into Jim Lovell, the com­mander of Apollo 13, who was in cov­er­sation with another gen­tlemen on the Soviet space program and joined in. Had no idea who he was and 30 minutes later when the other gen­tlemen asked me to take a selfie of him I asked why and learned who the person was who I had been talking with for the last half hour was. I was floored..

    Point being, “I’m busy” often is a blow off and it can express you don’t value the other person, not matter who you are. So be careful with that phrase because it doesn’t show self impor­tance

    Good edi­torial