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A to Z: Accomodating Tomorrow's Students

Posted By Jenna Konyak, Sunday, January 22, 2017

Compassionate to Say the Least

By: Jenna Konyak, Seton Hill University and MACUHO Magazine Columnist

            The newest generation to college, Generation Z, would self-describe as “compassionate”. While we often observe layers of entitlement and stacks of immature excuses in housing and residence life, I wholeheartedly believe that our students are woven together with strings of compassion. From our Resident Assistants to the outliers in our housing communities, kindness and empathy can be found in every corner.

Take my RAs, for example. The minute they heard that one of their own was going through a very heavy mental health crisis, they wanted to help make it better. They empathized with their fellow staff member after reflecting on the training they received a couple of months earlier and craved for the chance to support her. I had RAs knocking on my office requesting supplies to make her a sympathy card within 30 minutes of hearing the news. I had the RA’s duty shifts for the rest of the month covered by her fellow staff members before I went to bed that night. My job would not have been so fulfilled, smooth, and successful that day if not for the kindness and generosity of my student leaders.

Don’t let the outliers, those who rarely interact with their RAs and peers, fool you either. I have seen them come out of the woodwork at the most genuinely important times. For example, an outlier resident, let’s name him Tony, who is known by his RAs as the “ghost resident”, was someone I never expected to come to the rescue! Tony lives on a floor with a resident who can suddenly have seizures due to stress and flashing lights. This resident quickly learned that the fire alarms were going to be an issue for him, and living in a first-year residence hall…fire alarms were a common thing.

After learning this, Tony, on his own accord, walked up to one of his RAs and told him that if he was in the building at the time of a fire alarm, he would gladly ensure that his fellow floor-mate got out of the building safe. How great is it to see a student who you rarely see and know very little about stepping up, taking initiative, and helping a fellow resident out in a such a large way!?

Compassion is a powerful characteristic. It can pick someone up and help him or her in a time of need, and it can empower us to go above and beyond the call of duty. With such an important trait housed in the students who will one day change the world, we must ask ourselves how we will enhance our students.  How will we help them better the lives of others with the gift of compassion?


Tags:  A to Z  MACUHO  Magazine  Millenials 

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