Why Don’t We Say Hi?

Ricky Rodriguez , Contributing Writer

You know when you’re walking on the quad and you see someone you had an awesome conversation with at super. You’re smiling. You’re ready to ask them how their day is going—a catalyst to potentially make each other laugh again. Then they look you dead in the eye and don’t mirror your smile. They even look at you in some type of way. You get sad. You’re confused. You feel weird about feeling weird. You start overthinking everything. You try to remind yourself you don’t need anyone to be happy on this campus; you don’t need anyone’s validation to know you’re a baddie; you don’t need any of it…but none of it works. 

The reason why most people on this campus refuse to acknowledge others is because we’ve normalized apathy. We actively discourage establishing genuine connections with others. The latter is heavily influenced by greek life and the exclusionary nature it projects onto our community; however, a lot of it also has to do with the fact that people at Bucknell are dealing with (serious) things on a daily basis. 

Whether a person’s relationship with the people at this school began well before arriving to campus (i.e. following anyone that had “Bucknell *class year*” in their bio) or during orientation when we were all rushed to the football field after convocation to play those weird games—everyone’s sense of belonging has at one point been influenced by the growth-stunting precedent set by Bucknellians before us. 

How do we overcome this? How do we make space for others in our hectic lives? How do we make space for potential, for a brief moment of magic that can uplift us, for a friend we can call on during the most necessary moments—even the silly ones when we just need to laugh out loud. Literally. 

Well…I definitely recommend reminding yourself that no one in this life has it all together (thank you, big MacDonald Commons sign). I also recommend paying attention to the energy around you;, paying attention to the people that make you feel like you can be your authentic self. Also, paying attention to the moments/people that make you feel crappy (about yourself) is also important in taking the steps necessary to steer away from drama, BS and people that literally have no other ambition but to cause trouble. 

Social anxiety is also very real; not to mention depression, bad days, trauma, negative experiences with people on this campus, etc. Therefore, I encourage you to not take it personally if someone doesn’t extend the olive branch the way you expect them to. Life is extremely unpredictable to project our own expectations onto others—especially when we consider the aforementioned and the fact we will never be able to navigate each other’s minds. 

So… 

Take it easy. Be graceful. Set boundaries. Reach out. Smile a little more. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to get coffee with you. Take advantage of the nice weather while it lasts. Don’t take the people that are there for you for granted. Remember there’s BS in everyone’s lives…but there’s always room for kindness.

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