Don't Underestimate Community
I think just about every student here has either asked or been asked how they were doing, and the answer was “busy” or “tired.” Especially as the end of the semester gets closer, it seems like there is never enough time in the day to get everything done, and motivation and sleep are high on the list of things we always want but never seem to have enough of. When all of this is compounded with a high level of stress, it’s hard to carve out time to invest in other people, leading us to isolate ourselves in either our own personal worlds or the worlds connected to our screens.
While there are times when it’s important to go off and be by ourselves, a part of me wonders if, even in our busiest moments, investing in our community could be one of the most valuable and healthy ways to be refreshed and even motivated to get through our responsibilities and reach our deadlines.
As people who spend a large part of our lives right now at Covenant College, we have a very unique privilege and opportunity to live in a small community that we may never have in the same way in the future. For those who have the meal plan, the Great Hall is almost always available to go sit and commune with people over meals, and public places like lobbies are filled with people talking and hanging out on a regular basis.
In our busyness, it is so easy to let those opportunities pass us by, and to keep walking on or go sit by ourselves, but even just dedicating fifteen minutes (or two!) to be intentional by stopping and asking people how they are doing can make all the difference in the world. We may be surprised to find how many people we run into just walking across campus, and how much better a mood it puts us in to just say hello to a friend. We won’t be hurting for the two minutes it takes, and there is something heartwarming about acknowledging others by name and being acknowledged ourselves.
So, even though for the majority of us, life is crazy and busyness is the norm, I’d suggest that making the time for community will always be time well spent. Taking the focus off of ourselves and turning it towards other people is so gratifying, because people have so many interesting things to say if only we take the time to ask them the right questions and listen to them talk about what they like and what is going on in their lives. Not only that, but when we take the time to get to know people, even sitting in a classroom or doing our job becomes meaningful because we know that we are surrounded by people we care about.
When we open our hearts to love and be loved, our worlds get a whole lot bigger, and, frankly, our lives get a whole lot more interesting, because we never stop learning from the intentional conversations we have with those around us. Never underestimate the power of community—a simple hello goes a long way.
Article originally published April 15, 2021 in The Bagpipe.