By JORDAN SHERIDAN
About three weeks ago, my roommate and I left for a road trip down to North Carolina for a fellow Laurentians’ wedding. This wedding was also the same weekend of Titus. When we got back to campus early Monday morning, we returned to many hungover and exhausted students, a hole in the student center wall, and the word “SLUT” keyed into my car.
The first reaction to seeing this word etched into a personal belonging of mine was shock. I was not alone in this feeling. My housemates were in absolute shock, my boss was in absolute shock, and my advisor was in absolute shock that students on this campus would behave this way. Why would someone waste their time and intentionally try and hurt someone like this?
The second reaction was anger. I didn’t cry, I didn’t carry on, I was just angry: Not only because it would cost close to $200.00 to get my car fixed, but also because it is so frustrating to think about sharing a place so special, like St. Lawrence, with someone, or a group of people, who would even consider doing something like this.
The third reaction was sadness. I am sad for the individual who might have done this – sad for them because they must be very unhappy with themselves to resort to doing something like this to feel better. Whatever happened to taking responsibility and helping yourself rather than trying to diminish others? The reaction was also sadness because this is a prime example of immaturity, disrespect, and even bullying, and it is extremely sad to think that bullying occurs at an institution like St. Lawrence, an institution built on the idea that we are connected to one another as Laurentians for life.
Could this have been a random act of vandalism, maybe not even done by a student at St. Lawrence? Possibly, but unlikely. I understand that someone could have been trying to be funny and maybe my car was just a random target. Thankfully, I have a strong support group and am mentally and emotionally healthy, but what if this act was random and happened to a SLU student who was considering transferring schools, who just found out their dad had cancer, or who was even so lost and upset that they were contemplating committing suicide? The impact on those individuals would be significant and perhaps result in mental or physical harm. Would jabbing a key into their car really be worth it then?
If this wasn’t a random act, whoever did this should know that seeing that word on my car, directly above my driver side door, did hurt me, embarrass me, and you got your message across. I really hope it made you feel better about yourself, and even though I had the opportunity to find out who did it, I chose not to because that’s not important to me. What should be important to all of us is that students on this campus know to pay attention to the difference between right and wrong, and in turn do what’s right and stand up against what’s wrong.
Per a study done at Indiana State University, “Researchers found that almost 22% of college students reported being cyberbullied, while 15% reported being bullied.” This statistic suggests that out of the 2,377 undergraduates enrolled at SLU, that is 523 students who have been bullied. One of these 523 students could be your best friend, the popular kid who always throws the parties, your teammate, or your partner for a class assignment. It was me. So, next time you, your friend, or anyone else thinks about doing something to intentionally hurt another person, think about the lasting effects that action could have.
And, if you are targeted, or feel insecure because of what other people may have said or done, just remember what Taylor Swift once said: “This isn’t a high school thing, or an age thing. People cut other people down out of jealousy, because of something broken inside them, or for no reason at all. Just don’t let them change you or stop you from singing or dancing around to your favorite song.” There are also multiple resources on campus, like the health and counseling center, with individuals who can be of assistance to you in coping with any situation you may face. The number to reach them at is 315-229-5392, or you can stop in and make an appointment.
According to the Princeton Review, St. Lawrence is #25 on the list for “Best Schools for Making an Impact,” and that is because it is evident that there are amazing and gifted students at SLU who are all going to change the world in their own way someday, whether it be with the use of their degree or their passion for volunteer work. But, going past that, to call ourselves Saints, we need to be able to know the difference between right and wrong and help those who don’t make better choices. Stand up to bullies and do the right thing. You never know…it could save someone’s life.
We can do better Saints.