During the first week of my first year, I distinctly remember walking from the South Campus dining hall back to my residence hall, Good Counsel. This was probably one of the residence halls that had the shortest walks to the dining hall, and I don’t even want to do the math of how many times I did that walk. Hundreds upon hundreds. So what was different about this one walk?
Well, as I turned the corner to go to the main door, I saw someone was walking in ahead of me. This person stopped, turned around to see if anyone was coming in, and then waited. We made eye contact, and I thought, why is he waiting there? I looked down to see if he’d dropped something. He continued to prop the door open, and then I thought, is he waiting for me? I proceeded to physically turn around to see if one of his friends was behind me, but there wasn’t. Once I got to the door he smiled, and I thanked him, and he said, “No problem.” I definitely had a confused look on my face, because I have literally never had anyone hold the door for me that long.
Obviously people have held doors for me, but in a more reasonable way – when I was getting out of a car or when I was right behind someone walking into a restaurant. It wasn’t a foreign concept to me, but rather the sheer amount of time that someone would wait to do something like that is what shocked me. That someone would take the time to wait, and to have the awareness to look around to.
I, however, learned that I should grow accustomed to this. I have literally never known so many young people to hold pretty much every door open for others. I don’t know what it is about Villanova, but I have had my door held for me more times than I can count in any given day. And, if you’re a student, I’m sure you can attest to this – people will hold your door if you’re in their eyesight. Sometimes I have legitimately felt so badly about having people wait for me that I walk faster just to relieve them of their duty, so that I can take up the post to hold the door for someone else.
When we’re on our commutes to work or class, it is easy to plug in and zone everything else out. I think it really says something about the students at Villanova that even if we have headphones in and are in our own world, we still are conscientious enough to look around and see if we can do something small for each other.
So, I hope Do Something Nice Day reminds us to be the best versions of ourselves. That we remember what it feels like when someone gives us a genuine “thank you” or a big smile. To feel that our kindness and genuine care for others has a real impact on our communities. I’ve learned that Do Something Nice Day at Villanova is not a holiday, but everyday. I’ve learned from others in the Villanova community to truly care about the people around us. These actions of kindness do not only help individuals on a day-to-day basis, but also help to foster a community of encouragement and support – a community that I am proud to be a part of.