Picture this: you’re walking with your head down to the Case-Geyer library. COVID-19 has replaced your normal, happy way of life and color has turned to black and white. You have a clouded brain from trying to figure out your future in these unprecedented times as well as from your Moodle forum post due at midnight, a four-page essay due next week and encroaching midterm exams. You’ve gotten used to living in this new world, wishing everything was the way it used to be, while also being bogged down by the depressing reality that you can’t have that life back. And you’re also slowly losing these precious college years that have been hyped up to you as the “best years of your life” for your whole life. But as you walk the halls in your sorrow, a sticker catches your eyes. You read “You are strong.” You think to yourself: “Hey, that’s right. I am strong!” You keep walking and you pass another. “YES YOU CAN.” Everything that you were doubting yourself about washes away and is replaced with a sense of confidence and optimism. Today is going to be a great day!
This probably never has happened, but it’s likely what the Dean of the College hoped would happen. I find many students criticize these little circular stickers that are pasted around various campus building floors because they find them to be mocking their overall displeasure with the school’s restricting policies. In their eyes, they see the stickers as the University’s half-hearted answer to students’ calls for accommodations to make them feel happier. As if putting ten stickers in the library will make the little problem of nagging students go away.
I think that there are things the school could be doing better, like abolishing the no passenger in cars rule, but I don’t think that the policy issues are conflated with the stickers. I think they are a separate operation intended to increase student’s mental health during a challenging period in our lives. I do see the irony in an institution that may be worsening some student’s stress while also trying to be the “good guy,” but I actually like the stickers. They’re kind of nice, and they remind me to just chill out. If nothing else, you might find it humorous how little they help you. Maybe that chuckle you get from laughing at how absurd the Deans must be to think these stickers are doing anything at all is beneficial. And maybe then they are good after all. I don’t find myself fuming as I’m climbing the steps to get to Chobani, but reading “Work hard & be kind” might remind me to hold the door for a stranger and smile through my mask, and maybe it’ll all work out.