Opinions, Column

Hello, Heights!

And just like that, we’re back. Our ears have heard the ringing of Gasson’s bells, our noses have smelled the tailgate food, and our phones have started buzzing with GroupMe notifications yet again. We’re so back! 

I’ve always thought the first few weeks back at Boston College are harder than midterms or even finals weeks. We are returning from time separated from friends, transitioning to a new semester where we must accept our lack of down time. On top of that, we are surrounded by new faces and are not in a “semester groove” yet. And my social battery seems to drain after three days, not three weeks. Frankly, there’s only so many things to say before the conversation about our summer activities becomes redundant. 

But, I still enjoy saying hi to everyone I know, both on and off campus. Seeing the familiar faces I love makes me genuinely smile. For me, though, it’s meeting new people that becomes exhausting. The new classmates. The new recruits sitting next to you at the latest club meeting. The friends of friends you didn’t know existed until they showed up at your door last Tuesday at 11:00 p.m. The list goes on. 

So, how do we manage interacting with these types of friendly faces—the people we know, but don’t really know? They deserve some form of acknowledgement, don’t they? We could become closer friends in a few months. But that’s if—and only if—we somehow say hello every time we see them.

The simple answer is: just say hi. However, Occam’s razor doesn’t always feel right because what if they come up to me and start chatting? And what if I don’t have that energy in me? But wait, what if they don’t even say hi back? What if they do this? What if they don’t do that? While all valid, at the end of the day, do these questions really matter? Are you tossing and turning at 3 a.m. because the kid two seats next to you in Rivers and the Environment didn’t say hi to you? No. So let go, and please, just say hi. 

As a New Englander, I often have the great “hello” debate with my friends from the Midwest and the South. My stance: A simple hello isn’t going to make my day. I don’t ask the clerk at the grocery store how she is. I just swipe my debit card. I don’t wave at the construction workers making me cross the street because the sidewalk is closed. It feels unnatural in a world where everything seems transactional. But this is where I lose the debate every time and adjust my mindset. 

College itself is a very transactional concept. We are here for four years to get a degree that will get us a job. But, that doesn’t mean that the people we meet, the clubs we join, or the classes we enroll in can’t be interesting. It doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, and it sure as hell doesn’t mean we can’t be cheerful in our interactions with others.

There is no harm in just simply saying hi. You actually never know if it just might make somebody’s day. So, start greeting people this semester. Everyone always complains about the “BC Lookaway” being so toxic, so end it. Make BC your home, and just start saying hi. 

September 17, 2023