Column: Pet Peeves


Looking around social media I’ve noticed a lot of links that connect to lists: 15 potato chips that look like U.S. presidents, 13 things you didn’t know you could do with bacon, etc. In light of this trend, I decided to try my hand at a list.

As I was considering what topic I would cover, I realized we’re nearing the end of a semester. Anytime you live somewhere for a prolonged period of time, you start to pick up on certain annoyances. These little pet peeves are nothing major, and you don’t even notice them at first. But after a while, you do notice them, and eventually you just have to say something about them. College is no exception, and as we come close to finishing a semester, I thought I would list some of the little things I’ve observed.

Speaking of reaching the end of the semester, my first pet peeve is this: countdowns. I can completely understand being excited about the end of the semester. There are internships to start, camps to work at, and vacations to take with family. With the semester nearing its conclusion, excitement understandably builds, and people begin to count down the days, hours and even the seconds. It becomes difficult to go an entire conversation with someone without hearing something like, “Can you believe there are only this many days until vacation!?”

While I can completely understand the urge to count, I personally try to avoid it. Every morning you wake up, you have around 12 hours to do all sorts of incredible things, but often, for me at least, when I start counting down, I stop looking at those 12 hours as opportunity and instead see them only as an obstacle between me and whatever I’m looking forward to.

My next peeve isn’t always true, but at certain times during the semester, I think it’s easy for us to lose some of our friendliness. There are a lot of serious things in college: grades, future, relationships, a nearly endless list of things that could sober even the most cheerful person.

But I think that in spite of these hard things, it’s important to stay playful. If you’re passing someone on the sidewalk, even if it’s a total stranger, and they smile at you, smile back. Or if someone tells a joke, even if you don’t find it that funny, laugh. It’s like a game of social pingpong.

If someone takes the effort to serve you the ball, you don’t watch it fly by, you hit it back to them. If someone tells you something silly, don’t look at them like they’re insane. Be playful. Have fun. Let’s not take ourselves too seriously.

My next annoyance usually shows itself when I’m talking to people about my major. Often, when I meet someone for the first time, I’ll mention that I’m a journalism major, and they will say something like, “So you want to be a starving reporter? People don’t read the newspaper anymore.” The comments themselves don’t really bother me anymore, but the underlying idea of them does.

To me, these kinds of comments are basically saying: “Why wouldn’t you pick a major that guarantees you a good job and lots of money?” When did wealth and success become primary motivators for life? I’m not saying you shouldn’t use wisdom in choosing your major.  But I believe if you’re doing what God made you to do, you can be just as happy being a poor journalist, artist or school teacher as you can be as a successful accountant or lawyer.

Now, let’s work on doing better at fixing those habits. And I’ll try to work on my annoying tendency to write lists of things that bother me.