By: Jonathan Munshaw, Editor-in-Chief
When I’m walking to class, there’s a 100 percent chance I have my headphones in listening to music.
I walk with a slight tilt to my head. I have it low enough that I don’t have to make eye contact with those who walk by me, but I keep it high enough that I can see where I’m going next.
This is the kind of tunnel vision that we (college students) can develop, especially when we’re at the busiest points of the semester.
Right now, students are looking at taking midterms, starting to research their final papers (assuming they want to get ahead) and seniors are trying to map out their lives after graduation.
I get it. There is a lot to take on. And I’m guilty of just wanting to escape when I’m walking on campus or I’m in my apartment complex. I don’t want to be bothered by anyone else, and I want to focus on myself.
It’s part of human nature.
But there are certain situations when it really is beneficial to take the headphones out for once, look straight ahead and embrace the community you’re in.
In this week’s cover story, we decided to broach the topic of community, specifically as it relates to campus and the Towson community.
From the interviews I did, I came to learn that Towson students frankly don’t realize they have a role to play in the community.
It becomes all too easy to walk from class to class, get in your car or onto a shuttle, drive home, and shut yourself in your apartment for the rest of the day.
But I challenge students to start thinking outside of that tunnel.
This week, when Towson had its second big snowstorm of the winter, I actively went out into the parking lot of my apartment complex and just shoveled. I cleared off the steps leading up to my building, cleared part of the sidewalk and in the morning, while I was shoveling out my girlfriend’s car, I helped others clear some space so that they could leave.
It didn’t take a lot of effort or time (and, on a snow day, I honestly didn’t have much else to do) but it did take me taking out my headphones and actively looking for people to help. Usually, I would have just gone out there to do my thing and focus on whatever was directly impacting my life, but it was nice for a chance to actually help others.
I didn’t get any huge rewards out of it and no one tipped me — which would be a strange thing to do, anyway — but it did force me to go out of my comfort zone.
I had to actively think about the people in my community. The complex that I live in has a mixture of Towson students, but it also has families, working singles and some older folks.
They all need help in different ways. Some students don’t have shovels to be able to dig their cars out. Some of the elderly can’t brave icy sidewalks and risk slipping.
It’s worth your time to actively build community.
Trust me, I know it’s much easier to only think about Towson in the context of your four years here. Most students will likely graduate from Towson and never move back here.
But try to be a member of the community. After all, you do live in Towson, whether you live on campus or off.
Help your neighbor dig out the ice from under their car. Just see if someone needs help carrying groceries into their apartment. Take your headphones out and walk with a sense of purpose, surveying all that is going on around you.