A very dear friend of mine recently stated “At Georgia Southern, we are celebrated, not just tolerated.” Ever since I heard her say that, I have also thought how valuable that statement is even when extended to the context of our daily interactions within our Eagle community.
Every morning I get onto the bus at Freedoms Landing to enjoy 8 – 15 awkwardly tolerated minutes of personal space intrusion until I arrive at my stop. As I glance through the bus, I notice that a majority of my fellow Eagles are protected from good and meaningful conversation, because they choose to listen to music, as opposed to creating interactions that lead to understanding and celebration of the individuality and diversity that our campus offers.
Some may ask if 8 – 12 minutes is sufficient for meaningful conversation, and I can assure you that most of my greatest friendships at Georgia Southern were birthed out of 8 – 12 minutes of pure conversation, focused on sharing a good and meaningful conversation.
I feel we are protecting ourselves too much from beautiful conversation that can help us gain a better, more wholesome understanding of the diversity on campus and allow us to celebrate the beauty of it. Instead, we choose to shy away and listen to our music, put our heads down and blame it on how early in the morning it is (I am guilty too). As sad as it may sound, this implies that good and meaningful conversations with people within our own community are something that we have assumed is something to be tolerated instead of celebrated.
Sharing requires both a give and take. Many of us tend to feel that we have so much to give and less to receive in conversation. It is important to realize that it takes two people at a minimum to hold conversation and that the uniqueness of someone else and their story, situation and opinion is what I must celebrate to better enrich myself and appreciate conversation.
Next time, take off your headset; let the music be written in beautiful conversation and interaction that you will celebrate for years to come. It just takes 8 – 12 minutes.