Put a smile on
I think we complain too much. I’m not coming from a self-righteous, holier-than-thou perspective either, because I’m guilty of it too—probably guiltier than most. But Washington University students never seem to be totally fulfilled. Maybe I should hang out with happier people, I don’t know. Regardless, I think it’s something that needs to be addressed.
The food on campus is so repetitive, and then they take your favorite item off the menu for the sake of variety, therefore Bon Appétit should face the wrath of fire and brimstone. If someone tries to plan something for a night out, we’re sick of the venue, but when there’s no plan, we complain about how lame we are. People complained about the old dorms on the 40, now we regret the fact that the construction never ends. It’s relentless. And remaining in that type of mindset only contributes to the perpetual whining. If one thing sucks, why shouldn’t it all suck?
In some ways, this is a tacky, “appreciate what you have,” kind of deal. But try not to look at it that way. There are definitely a lot of issues with the overall student experience here. They’re just all pretty minor.
I’m going to fire off a series of complaints that I think would be fairly representative of the average student opinion here. Let’s see how petty they are.
Jaded senior walking through the village: “My basil remoulade spread on this packaged sandwich wasn’t locally or sustainably produced on an organic farm within thirty miles of campus. Ugh, and the packaging is under 92 percent recycled plastic. You know that’s the standard percentage that Brown requires of all its plastic goods.” How many students get to complain about basil remoulade in the first place? Shut up.
“It’s so unfair that the new freshmen get Tempur-Pedic mattresses.” Yes, it may be a tad indulgent of the freshman experience and not the best use of the University’s money. But it’s not unfair to you. Know why? Because the more highly qualified, interested, intelligent students this University secures, the more its reputation will grow. That will allow you, sometime in the near future, to stand there with a big, smug smile on your face at your assumedly very important/interesting/world-changing-for-the-better job and say, “Yeah, I went there BEFORE they had those mattresses.” That’s going to feel sweet, because your degree carries the weight it does due to all the efforts the school puts into seemingly stupid, miniscule changes like memory foam mattresses.
Let’s say two students are walking together to brunch on Saturday morning. The first student says, “Last night was so boring.” The second student says, “I know, Wash. U. kids don’t know how to have fun.” While the level of fun at this school can definitely be called into question at times, it’s not like we’re confined to some humdrum, humorless existence.
Simply look at it in perspective: We got into Wash. U. because we are highly intelligent, hard-working students. This makes us more apt to piece together some sort of social calendar in a city that doesn’t exactly cater to student nightlife. And we’re also all mostly slightly socially awkward, introverted nerds with some major insecurities. If someone were to list our most redeeming qualities as a student body, “smooth” wouldn’t be high on the list. Chances are we’ll never achieve “legendary” status as a party school, but I know enough people who wake up feeling like they got hit by a truck to get the feeling that we’re at least trying. But all we can do is our best.
So in five minutes, when I will inevitably throw my next inane, disgruntled quip at something having to do with Wash. U., I will stop, consider the fact that I’m being wildly unappreciative, and say it anyway. I can’t expect you to stop complaining about school, just to appreciate what you have.