Most people know where they fall on the “how I feel about change” scale. Either you’ve repeated “I don’t like change” a hundred times, or you just go with the flow and have never had to think about it.
Campus this year has included a lot of change. Not all of it has been handled gracefully, whether it be administration not keeping students informed or city hall not approving the Campus Master Plan for nearly the entire first year of construction. Through it all, there has been a lot of reason for students to be frustrated with the whole process.
Personally, I have expressed, both in writing and in conversation, how discouraging all these projects and changes have been. Ranging from the delayed module construction to the new focus on the sciences because they’re in “higher demand” than other studies, the changes this year have often felt like the ride I can’t get off.
And the whiplash has been real. Within days, Campus Safety and Spiritual Formation found themselves completely switching office spaces. We get emails about new administrators or initiatives regularly. It’s a lot to take in.
The thing is, as frustrating as the whole process has been for us as a campus — especially for the juniors and seniors who feel they won’t experience the benefits of these changes — we can’t allow bitterness to ruin the remainder of our education. For underclassmen, please don’t let it tarnish the beginning.
Though the constant adjustments can wear us down, it would be a disservice to ourselves to be bitter about any portion of our school experiences. Allowing frustration towards the school to influence our perception of this unique (and short) time in our lives would only be hurting ourselves.
Vanguard needs to change to stay relevant, to improve facilities, to attract new students, and though it is valid to feel short-changed because the shifts occur during our time here, bitterness will not stop construction, restore our campus, or fix parking. It will stain our memory of undergrad without causing administration to change a thing.
Bitterness makes us cynical, scathing, and unhappy. Even if we try to compartmentalize our frustration solely towards school, it’s likely to spread into other aspects of our lives. Campus life has such a large influence on us it’s a main source of our social, academic, and often “home” lives. If we have negative emotions towards something so significant in our lives, we risk becoming unhappy and discouraged overall.
The truth is, change is always happening all around us. All colleges have construction, improvement projects, and restructuring, especially with the current climate of higher education demands change. It’s just a little more obvious to us due to our small campus. And even if it weren’t for a giant blue fence and an empty dirt lot, there would always be something happening that would ruin the perfect image we thought going off to college to be.
Of course, honesty and information from our administration remain key, and construction projects should be reasonably timed and fully funded. It is still important that we hold our school to a standard of excellence. However, once we begin expecting the worst and resenting the current state of campus, we have moved from accountability to anger. And anger will never change administration, nor will it build a new student center more quickly. It will only mar our own experience.
I often hear, “I pay so much to go here and…” and that’s true. We do pay a pretty high price every semester. So instead of becoming embittered by our circumstances, let’s make our tuition dollars well-spent in knowledge, friendships, and growth.