Olivia Bretzman ’22
“Masking up” commonly connotes masking any emotions. In a way, it makes an individual rather lifeless—their facial features and expressions compromised in every social interaction.
Last year, wearing masks outside created a really unemotive, often cold environment for Providence College students as they walked to the few in-person classes they had, the dining hall, or Slavin without expression, recognition between peers and professors, or easily breathable airways. In all honesty, this aspect of mask wearing in public made it incredibly difficult to find joy in the little things and in the people around us.
This semester, students should take advantage of unmasking outdoors as much as possible. The entire experience of walking on campus or going to class will be entirely altered with a mindfulness of masks!
Thus, to take advantage of these policies, one should really try to smile at their classmates, professors, acquaintances, and even random strangers. With an emotionless year, it is clear that even the simplest of gestures such as a smile or wave can truly make a difference.
This mindfulness can also be applied to reconnecting with old professors and classmates. There is a blatant, awkward tension between those who “knew each other” pre-Covid and now are suddenly smacked with the reality that they will see people they only met on a screen or have not talked to for more than a year! We should not be afraid to say hi, smile, or even just wave to those individuals.
Each of these aspects of mindful behavior will make a world of difference on campus and an incredible impact on the mental health of those around you.
Madeline Morkin ’22
Talking poorly about other people reflects far worse on the person doing it than it does on whoever is being talked about. Nobody likes to hear that their name has been dropped into some conversation in a negative way, yet people continue to talk poorly about others—even when they have experienced that bad feeling themselves.
There are a multitude of reasons why someone taints another person’s reputation by making fun of or judging certain behaviors or aspects of another—they might be lacking self-confidence, letting out anger at a person for something else entirely, or reflecting a pessimistic view onto other people because they simply are not happy with something about themselves or their own life. While it is so common, it really does hurt both sides—the person being spoken about and the speaker.
Everyone should be able to form their own opinions of others without the preexisting knowledge of another person’s particular biased impressions. When speaking poorly to fill conversation or in an unsuccessful attempt to elevate themselves, people tend to target the most trivial or superficial attributes of another person. The negative speaker might poke fun at a person’s wardrobe, appearance, financial situation, or upbringing, amongst many other personal realities that concern no one besides that individual.
Friendships formed on the basis of criticism are unhealthy and do not allow for real uplifting contentment. Every person is unique, and what a boring world we would live in if that was not the case.
If another person is happy with their life and isn’t hurting anyone, nobody else should judge or diminish their joy by slandering them in conversation. Be kind and try to only speak from a place of positivity because it will allow you to be a happier person as well.