Photo courtesy of Pepperdine University
Like many other students, I pondered the utility of having to take six “extra” classes, half in religion, the other half in humanities. I was told that the purpose of this was to establish a common curriculum among students of different majors. Thanks to this tradition, you can rest assured you have something in common with every student on campus.
Convocation is also one of these traditions. However, this tradition is in a bit of trouble. I remember my first Wednesday Convo. The electronics policy was strictly enforced, signs were posted and students were generally respectful. Transferring in from another school, this was all new to me. It was exciting to have everyone to gather together and fellowship.
Two and a half years later, I look around and many are too busy playing on their phones, talking to a neighbor obnoxiously or staring off into space waiting for the giant storm of human movement to snap them out of their daze.
This tangible disregard for Convo unconsciously degrades what Convo should really be about: fellowship.
Ask yourself a question — when has sidebar conversation and incessant texting ever enhanced your Convo experience? These are forms of disrespect, and relationships never thrive from their contagious spread.
I admit, I don’t always want to be at Convo, but I have always maintained a certain level of respect. Respect and regard are important values at an institution of higher learning and should be practiced at all levels within that institution. Respect fosters a greater sense of security and connection, while rudeness and indifference do the exact opposite.
Yes, you are being forced to go to Convo. Get over it. Act like an adult and show respect to others. After all, wouldn’t you like to be treated with some respect?
How you evaluate the experience matters. Sulking will not make you feel better about your Convo experiences and spreading discontent among your peers by being rude also won’t bring you any deeper sense of fulfillment. You are there to fellowship. So be intentional about it.
The Wednesday morning Convo crowd is one of the toughest and often unresponsive crowds around, and it got that way because of a lack of respect. This lack of investment on our part is self-reinforcing misery. Convo is not simply required because the administration wants to make us miserable; it’s about connecting you with your fellow students. But if you think misery and anguish are the intention, then you will reap what you sow.
The Convo staff is not here to entertain you. Be engaged. Listen. Be respectful, and you might feel a little more connected. So I ask you, next Wednesday, turn to your neighbor and ask them to shut off their phone and pay attention to the speaker. Being engaged and respectful takes intention, but it’s a habit worth cultivating and will ultimately enhance your experience.
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