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Balance is a battle

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Emily Monaco / THE GATEPOST

By Raena Doty

Editorial Staff

To many, the American university is one of the last settings of true community living - a place where friends are accessible without jumping through hoops and one’s immediate circle is made up of more than the nuclear family.

While lots of people are starting to question what the actual value of college is in the modern economy, there’s no doubt that for many, the access to community is a major draw to the ideal of a four-year university.

But in my time at FSU, I’ve realized access to community can be a double-edged sword.

It’s absolutely true - being here has helped me build the best relationships of my life, and my professional skills have developed immensely. For this, I can only thank the incredible support I’ve gotten from friends, classmates, fellow student officers, coworkers, and all the rest of my peers.

At the same time, I’ve become privy to some of the most intricate drama of my life because of how close everyone is around me.

When I step back to think about it, I never should have expected anything else. After all, adults living on their own can’t expect their coworkers to also be their best friends, to also be their neighbors, to also be their classmates, to also share their showers.

But knowing one day I won’t be in this situation doesn’t make it easier to stomach now.

I’m not saying any of this to discourage community participation. These words come from a student, a resident student, a student worker, a student officer - and I don’t plan to give any of that up.

But it is to say, when you have multiple types of relationships with one person - when you function as both coworkers and classmates or both roommates and fellow student officers, for example - resentment can build at an accelerated rate.

I’ve had to keep secrets for friends that have changed how I view my coworkers. I’ve had differences of opinions with student officers that have changed the way I see my classmates. I’ve been keyed into drama with peers that have affected my ability to live in the same building as they do.

I like to think I’ve mostly managed to avoid the worst of the drama, and though I can’t claim that I’ve done so entirely through skill, I do have two pieces of advice to offer anyone who finds themselves wrapped up in what feels like high school.

One, give yourself a support network wider than just one group of people. I know it feels nice to be able to know everything about a group and tell them everything about yourself, but when there comes a day where you’ve grown frustrated with that group, you’ll want to vent to someone who knows no one involved.

That may mean having multiple different groups of friends to talk to, or - not to sound too much like her - calling your mother every once in a while. Or your father, your siblings, your cousins, your friend from high school who went to Salem State instead of FSU - anyone who isn’t involved in the drama.

And two, be kind. I know people say it a lot, and it can lose its impact when you hear it too much, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Though it felt overstated when our middle school teachers were calling assemblies about these issues, there is a lot of value in not spreading rumors, not gossiping, not assuming the worst. And these are skills to be practiced, ones you must consciously evoke in order to remember to do them, so reminders should be taken seriously.

Just because someone is frustrating you in one way doesn’t mean your entire relationship with them must be soured. And if you find yourself in a situation where you can’t avoid that, sometimes it is better to let go of that relationship rather than let the bad parts of it seep into the good parts of the rest of your life.


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