The Collegian
Friday, June 21, 2024

Ask Maddy: Speed round - so many questions, so little time

Dear readers, 

This week, I’m doing things a bit differently as a result of my impending doom (graduation). I’ve got a bunch of questions and so little time – next week is the last week of classes – and so we’re going to do a speed round!

I believe this is the last week I’ll be answering questions as well. Thank you all so much for reaching out with truly thought-provoking – and sometimes truly silly – questions over the past year. I’ll be doing my official sign-off next week, so stay tuned.

Now for the speed round!

Dear Maddy,

Why didn’t the URPD contact students when there was a person with a knife on campus?

Thank you so much for asking this because I think about that situation a lot.

For context, back in January, a person with a knife was reported to be harassing and chasing students around campus late into the night. Word got around quickly among students in group chats and over the phone.

A number of students called the University of Richmond Police Department as it was happening. In an email sent to residents of Westhampton Hall, where the incident primarily occurred, URPD Maj. Eric Beatty informed students that the person, who was a student from  another university, was found in Tyler Haynes Commons in possession of a pocket knife. He was taken into custody, according to the email.

I’m assuming you’re asking why URPD did not alert the entire campus community. Personally, I see both sides.

My immediate reaction was frustration because I do believe they should have made the rest of campus aware of the situation. If I were planning to go out on a Friday night – which my friends and I were – I would be grateful to have that information before stepping foot out of my apartment. It also doesn’t help that this person seemingly walked through half of the campus before being taken into custody.

At the same time, I could see how URPD alerting the campus community could have caused mass panic. I have seen time and time again on this campus how large groups of students tend to spread misinformation. Most of the time it’s unintentional, but I could see it putting innocent people in harm’s way.

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Dear Maddy,

How do you deal with social peer pressure for seniors; feel like I will explode with only 2 weeks of classes left.

I had to learn a long time ago that nobody’s path is linear. Graduating, getting a job, starting a family and every other decision we see as so large becomes so much more manageable when we claim it as our own. And that means deciding when to do things on our own time.

That pressure is natural. I’ve discussed it before in my pieces regarding graduation, this last semester and feeling the need to compete with classmates.

And I’ll say this again: Part of the human condition is that we measure our own worth by looking at the lives of our peers. And in every story where I see comparison happening, it never has a happy ending.

Good luck with these last few weeks. Remember that you’re not “supposed” to be doing anything except what is most meaningful to you in your own time.

Dear Maddy,

Any tips to maximize your experience in Richmond without a car?!

Great question! I did not have a car on campus until later in my junior year, so the majority of my time here at UR was spent car-less. The best way to get out and interact with the city is by using the resources campus provides.

I had a number of friends on campus with cars my first few years, but it was always nice to take off on my own.

The shuttles are a really great way to get started. They go to some of the hot spots in the city. During my first year, I would take a shuttle almost every week just to prevent getting stuck in UR’s bubble. Now, I’ve been getting my eyebrows done at the same place in Willow Lawn all four years, and I could tell you Carytown’s best restaurants without checking a map.

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out on the transportation website for surprises. They’re having a shuttle go to the Lakeside Farmers Market on April 22 from 9 a.m. to noon – be sure to register!

Aside from that, the GRTC bus that comes to campus can connect you to an even wider range of locations in Richmond. I’ve taken it once or twice, and there are a number of faculty and staff who do as well.

There are a number of campus organizations that help with transportation as well. The Bonner Center for Civic Engagement has a ton of opportunities for traveling off campus. 

Dear Maddy,

What did you do to prevent burnout? If you did get burnt out what was the best form of recovery?

Let me be clear when I say it is really challenging to avoid burnout on this campus. From the first year to the fourth, if there is one thing I have learned, it is that high-achieving students at competitive colleges and universities will have a hard time preventing burnout and learning how to recover from it.

I’ve coped with burnout in different ways over the years, but I also believe that dealing with it can be different for everyone.

Personally, I prevent burnout by taking a step back. I have a very tight schedule – ask anyone who has seen my Google Calendar. What makes it bearable is the fact that I learned to say: “No.”

It feels taboo. Students are prone to taking on as much as possible and grabbing each opportunity as they come. There is, however, maturity in realizing that you can say no. The power of taking a step back is a power I encourage you to learn.

As for recovering from burnout, I suggest doing the things you love that don’t require a huge commitment. If you enjoy hanging out with friends, invite them over for a small get together rather than going out. If you enjoy reading, start a new book. If you like cooking, learn a new recipe.

I believe a lot of people turn to isolation or inactivity to recover from burnout, but it feels unrealistic to go from constant activity to none whatsoever. That just sounds like whiplash.

Do what you feel is right. And if you don’t get it right the first time – or the second time or the third time – keep trying. Just like riding a bike or learning to read, taking care of ourselves is a practice that requires constant tuning.

Warmly,

Maddy

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