Come on, just smile for me

There is nothing more awkward than running into someone on campus that you have only met once or twice and expect to receive a cheerful greeting in passing, only to find them looking away once eye contact is made. Even worse, a good friend passes you by and is far more concerned about shuffling through their MP3 player than conferring a casual greeting.

Last semester, I attended Asbury University, a small, private college in Wilmore, Ky.

The way people talk to one another in a small setting, such as Wilmore, in contrast to an institution that enrolls around 15,000 students a year is like sending Hank Hill into New York City (without any propane).

I’ll admit it is quite intimidating to say, “hey,” or even crack a smile at someone that you don’t know very well or not at all. During the first few weeks of school, I would just plug in my headphones as I walked to class to avoid any awkward confrontation. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk to anyone; I just didn’t know how people would react.

After about a month, I became familiar with where my classes were and started recognizing students that were in my classes. I began to loosen up and engage in small talk with them. For instance, I ran into a classmate in the elevator after taking a really hard Spanish exam. I asked him what his name was and what he thought was most difficult on the exam. The elevator stopped at the second floor of Founders Hall and he got off and said, “See ya’ in class on Wednesday!”

It was my first break-the-ice conversation and to my surprise, it wasn’t too difficult.

I’ve noticed from all of my classes that many students at NKU are commuters; the vast majority are, in fact. At Asbury, most students live on campus. Unless you were determined to remain reclusive, you were seemingly forced to get to know people. At NKU, however, one may only be on campus for a couple of hours a day and never actually talk to anyone.

Often, a lot of the camaraderie is missed when people commute from home. This is true at any college or university. Whether you are a commuter, a transfer student, or someone that has been attending NKU for a couple of years, I think that you would agree that small talk can help pull you through a long day of classes or even turn a bad day around. I am not saying to go share your life story with a stranger but the point that I am trying to make is that a simple wave, smile or casual small talk can make someone feel more than one in 15,000.

Editorial by Melissa McLeod