Art by Peau Porotesano
As students, it’s our job to take the time we are given in college to learn and grow into responsible adults, and that knowledge can’t always come from the classroom. College is, in many ways, a half-step into independence; we’re living on our own but the cafeteria is just a few steps away. However, finding ways to take responsibility for ourselves, outside of what can be done for us by Pepperdine, is the only way to teach ourselves independence.
We’ve noticed that Pepperdine has recently switched away from single-stream recycling. While this change is small and not intended to be a push from Pepperdine to teach us responsibility, we see it as a small opportunity to practice. Most students might shrug at the change in recycling on campus, but even having to take a moment to pause and think about your own recycling instead of knowing someone else will do it for you is a brief lesson in responsibility.
One thing Pepperdine students don’t take for granted is hard work. It takes work and dedication to be here. Seventy-five to eighty percent of students receive financial aid, and with an acceptance rate of 35 percent, we have earned our place on campus. However, the work and dedication continue. We balance classes, clubs, Convocation, jobs, career preparation and just living life as a college student.
On the other hand, something we may not often think about are the little ways Pepperdine makes life easier. For example, students with meal plans have most of their cooking and dish cleaning done by someone else and any repair work that need to be done in student’s apartments or dorms is done by filling out a maintenance request. These are not bad things because they allow us to focus our energy on schoolwork and our futures. But, amid our busy balancing acts, we sometimes forget the village of people working close to us who make life more convenient.
Being a responsible person doesn’t just mean getting yourself to class on time and keeping up with your grades; it also means making good choices about the small actions you take every day and learning how to live in the real world. Remembering to recycle is one small way we can do that. It’s up to us about whether we decide to view Pepperdine’s recent switch away from single stream recycling as a minor inconvenience or a small way to step up and make more decisions on our own.
Another example of ways that students can learn to more responsible is right inside their dorms. Pepperdine hasn’t had on-campus apartment cleaning services since 2015, but after you move out of the freshman dorm, whether you live off campus or on campus, keeping a shared bathroom clean is up to you and your roommates. Cleaning definitely isn’t a new thing for most students, but splitting the work, keeping up after yourself and keeping peace with your roommates are skills of a conscientious adult. Maybe that means you have to make room for something else in your schedule, but it’s a valuable skill to have as we move into the real world.
Learning to make responsible decisions about health in college is another way we can take step toward being more responsible. Despite the endless stairs, Pepperdine can’t make us healthy, so learning to take care of ourselves is also a huge opportunity for learning independence. In an article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention titled “Tips for College Health and Safety,” they mention that learning to manage stress and getting enough sleep are huge health factors that college students have to manage responsibility.
Taking the small opportunities on campus to make choices for yourself or to solve small problems on campus are ways we can teach ourselves to be independent. It may be something as small as sorting our own recycling, but it can lead to bigger and bigger steps into living an independent life.
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