Anyone who has experienced college finals will tell you that it can be a stressful experience for some. So much of your overall class grade depends on one final test, so everyone wants to do really well on the final test. For me, the final I wanted to excel at the most this year was my calculus final. I knew a good score on the test would give me a big boost and help get me the grade I wanted.
The day came to take the final so after doing some last minute studying, I headed off to room where the test would be held. I decided to arrive 15 minutes before the final started, just to be safe. I figured arriving early would let me find a good spot and get settled in before the madness began. But what I found was a room which was already filled with hundreds of students all here to take this calculus test like myself.
One thing to note about students taking a calculus test, they like their space. If at all possible, students will try to sit every other seat so they can utilize the desk portion of their own seat, as well as the seat next to them. This allows them to have easy access to an extra pencil or the formula sheet that our professor provides without being confined to one small desk. It actually works out pretty well most of the time.
Except when the room is too full to give everyone two desks like today. When I walked in to take my calculus final, the room was already way too full to let students use both their desk and the one next to them, and there were still dozens of people coming in trying to find a seat. As I roamed the room looking for a spot, I continually found students who had placed coats and other belongings in the seat next to them, to ensure that no one took their second spot from them. So as I, and many other students, frantically searched around the room, we were met with people who avoided eye contact or ignored us so they did not have to feel guilty about not helping us out.
As the time ticked, we got closer and closer to the start of the test. Only 7 minutes left now. Oh boy, what if I do not find a seat in time? Will they give me a test if I am not sitting down? Can I sit on the floor? All these questions raced around my mind when finally a girl sitting a couple seats in said, “you can sit here,” pointing to the seat next to her. A rush of relief poured over me, as she moved some stuff to clear up the spot. I sat down, finally ready to take my final.
I started thinking and realized anyone in that room could have done what that girl just did. Anyone could have decided to take a little less space to help someone out, but most did not. They all had the mentality that “someone will help them.” They did not feel the need to help because they felt someone in the room would give up a seat. Instead they just let someone else take care of it so they could have their spots.
I also realized I have been guilty of this too. In fact, most of us are. For those of us who drive, we have probably had a time when we were in a hurry and instead of letting a car merge in front of us; we decided to let someone behind us let that person merge. Or when we are going to class and we see someone drop their books, how often do we keep walking because we absolutely have to get to class. There are many times when we do not want to inconvenience ourselves, so we figure someone else will help them.
The chances are that yes, someone will help that person eventually. Someone will pick up the little task that needs to get done. But what if that “someone” was us? What if we decided to be the one to help someone out or get something done? It is so easy to let someone else take care of it, but when we take care of it ourselves, we can brighten someone’s day. We can relieve their stress. We can prevent dozens of calculus students from panicking as they look around the room for a seat to take their final.
This New Year, let’s find a way to be “the one.” Whether we are “the one” who takes out the trash at home, or “the one” who puts together a practice test for our Career Development Team, or “the one” who invites the new kid at our school to sit by our friends at lunch. These are all ways we can be “the one” to make a difference.
Stationed by the Rising Sun