Back to School Shopping – Higher Education Edition

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Packs of loose leaf paper: $0.04. Notes books: $0.13. New smelly markers: $0.89. The peace of mind that all of the hard work and preparation that went into planning the upcoming school year: Not for sale. There are so many things that I wish the local mega-superstore would have lined in their aisles ready for all higher education professional to be able to add to their cart and make the world a better place.

Do I need another backpack? No, thanks. I already look 14. How about some empathy though? How about the willingness to try to understand where people are coming from and understanding that every person has a different perspective on the world? That’s part of what makes this field amazing. You never know what frame of reference someone may be coming in with and we get to learn about so many different cultures and perspectives…that is if we give them a chance.

As much as I wish I still had a locker to be able to put that cool mini-chandelier, how about the joy and awe that we used to look at the world with? How about being able to look at that empty t-shirt box and see a rocket ship or an igloo or the bottom of the ocean? We tend to lose our sense of creativity and imagination as we get older. We do the same thing over and over again because it’s what worked in the past. What if we looked at the good that we’ve done in the past as a building block instead of a finished product?

13-year-old me would love to buy more white glue so that I can put it on my hands and let it dry and peel it off. Who am I kidding? 27-year-old me still does that. But what if we also let the criticism and negativity of people dry and just peel it off instead of listening to it?

What if we spent a whole school year putting each other up instead of tearing them down? We have so much influence over both our students and colleagues that a simple smile every now and then can make a world of difference.

While all of these would be great to just throw in a cart and move on, they are all certainly things that we can work on throughout the year to make it that much more special.

Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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