The Senior Column

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Elizabeth Coogan

The biggest lesson I’ve learned at Assumption was not taught to me inside the walls of La Maison or Laska Classrooms. It was taught to me in the Plourde gym following the Spring Concert our first year. The concert was OAR with Timeflies and as a CABbie and sub-chair of Spring Concert, I was required to help with breakdown. At 12:30 a.m., all of the students involved in breakdown began growing weary. Our then advisor, Alex Paterson, pulled me aside and taught me the most valuable lesson I have learned in life.

“Beth, if you learn nothing else from me, remember to treat people with respect regardless of their title, and you will find the greatest reward,” she said.

Now I have no idea why she chose to tell me this, or why I, a delirious first-year student, chose to listen so intently. But I am very glad I did. This lesson has weaved in and out of my life since that very night.

I have chosen to follow this piece of advice for the past three years. I have chosen to laugh with the Building and Grounds workers who have cleaned my dorms and kept our campus beautiful. I have chosen to get to know the Sodexo workers who prepare my food every day. I have chosen to befriend the administrative assistants of various departments who wear a smile on their faces every day.

These people who do so much for the college are likely to be overlooked on a day-to-day basis. They are likely to be forgotten in the long run. They are also most likely to be treated poorly and be the first ones to take the blame when something goes wrong.

Just because there is a snow bank in the parking lot doesn’t mean B&G should drop everything to clean it up. Your sandwich didn’t turn out just right? Well, think about how many sandwiches the deli counter has to make at one time. The registrar lost one form? That day, they may have been swamped with change of advisor forms.

We are all too likely as students to blame others for things that go wrong. Yes, we are stressed, overtired and worried about our futures, but that doesn’t mean we can treat others unfairly.

I have attempted to remember that everyone in life has their own baggage and face their own battles every day. I have chosen to empathize with people who are often overlooked. This has not only made me a happier person, but has also led me to finding some pretty cool people on this campus without the fanciest of titles.

Now, I’m not saying that people with titles should be treated disrespectfully. I’m just asking that each of you take a little extra time to show thanks to the people who make your food everyday or to the administrative assistants who make sure your essay gets to your professor.

Similarly, I have spent the last two semesters working in the post office. I had previously placed blame on the post office for not getting my packages on time or losing a letter. After working there, I have learned the post office has many things to do and is often understaffed. I have gained a whole new level of respect for all the aspects of the mailroom after working there. It takes a long time to receive a package, log it in, print out a slip, email the recipient and in the end, deliver it. I am forever grateful to Maureen Barbale and Ryan Capstick and commend them both on a job well done.

As I reflect upon those who have had an impact on my four years at Assumption, I’d like to thank Ana, the lovely B&G worker who cleaned Desautels Hall my first year here. It was great meeting you and I will continue to thank you for all you’ve done.

Donna Perron, who works the Switchboard. Thank you for the candy on days when I deliver the mail in the rain. That little pick-me-up always makes me smile.

Lastly, I’d like to thank Clayton Hubbard for providing excellent service at Charlie’s and for always making me laugh on my darkest days.

These are the people who are part of the effort to keep the Assumption community running. I am so thankful for each and every one of them for what they have done and for what they will continue to do. Looking back on my four years, they have kept me the most sane and happy.

My advice to any underclassmen? Get to know these people, those you are likely to ignore, and you just may find that they end up meaning the most to you, too.

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