Please, Take a Smile.
They say a simple smile goes a long way, that a simple “hello” can make someone’s day. Something as small as a compliment can change someone’s entire state of mind. Housatonic hopes to stress that belief.
All over campus these “Have an amazing day,” flyers have been popping up. Strung from the bottom are compliments, generic things like: “You’re beautiful,” or “You are valued,” or “You are important,” Students are encouraged to rip off a compliment and exchanging it in the hopes of making someone smile.
“I think it’s very ‘internet-y’ definitely something you’d see on Tumblr,” joked Dan Slosser, a Sophomore in his third semester here at HCC. “But I think it’s cool that the school is encouraging positivity.”
“I actually gave one to my girlfriend,” Slosser chuckled a little to himself as he continued. “I took her here to show her the campus and everything, and I ripped one off for her, she couldn’t not smile.”
We live in a world where unfortunately depression is becoming a “social-norm.” No one can deny that suicide rates have skyrocketed in the recent years. The Centers For Disease Control, or the CDC, estimates that 1 in 6 adolescents have seriously contemplated suicide. 1 in 12 actually make the attempt.
“I think those are scary numbers,” says Elyjah Magliochetti, a student also in his third semester at HCC. “It’s becoming too real. You just don’t know anymore.”
Self-esteem has become an issue in our society. Especially amongst those in their early adult years. Social media is too powerful, I’ve seen friends be ridiculed online and I myself, have been a victim.
“You’re not good enough,” is a scary thought. Especially for someone just getting out in the world. According to a study also conducted by the CDC, 20% of teenagers say they’ve at some point been a victim of bullying. 16% say that the bullying has taken place online.
The concept of ripping off something to boost that self-esteem is invaluable.
When questioned, third semester student Amber Xaypanya had a lot to say. “I first noticed these flyers while I was on the phone just walking around in Lafayette. A smile came to my face, because I just thought it was so great someone was doing something.”
“Some people might view these flyers as a joke, but others, this will make their entire day. I know it will,” Xaypanya continued. “All through high school I suffered through depression. Not severely, but I definitely felt out of place. What got me through it were the small gestures like someone saying hello.”
“We’re at an age where we don’t see the world for all that it is, we see a more narrow version of that. People need to expand,” Xaypanya says.
Sometimes in life we’re given these incredible responsibilities that we don’t even realize we have. They’re little things, but they’re the important things. Senior year in high school I had a classmate of mine ask me if he could sign my yearbook.
He and I had somewhat of a history together, but we were never really friends. I always thought of him as “the kid from 7th period Spanish.” He’s become so much more than that to me now. When I got my yearbook back and was flipping through the signatures of countless people I knew I’d never speak to again, I stumbled across his.
To me I was just saying “hi,” to someone I knew, but to him, I was something to count on. Something that was a sure thing in a world where there weren’t too many of those.
I live my life now differently because of Justin, I take no friendship for granted. I try and make myself present in the lives of the people I love. You have to. When I started writing this article my original intention was to track down the person responsible for these flyers, question them, find out exactly what their drive was.
Now I feel I’m better off not knowing. I feel like we all are, really. I think it’d just be better to recognize that someone made a small difference, rip off a smile, and make someone’s day.
These “Have an amazing day,” flyers can be found on the all bulletin boards in high traffic areas of both Beacon and Lafayette.
For more information, visit the Student Life offices on the third floor of Beacon Hall.