PITTMAN: Looking in the glass
Don’t trust a trustee—trust yourself
When a representative from The Cavalier Daily came to our trustees meeting, he suggested that we use this column as a platform to bestow the “wisdom” that we’ve accumulated over the past three years and create an inspiring article. As commendable as that may sound, what I would like to write to you is the exact opposite.
As a fellow Wahoo, student and concerned citizen, my deepest sympathies go out to Shelley Goldsmith’s family and friends. I did not know Ms. Goldsmith, but when I heard the news of her passing this weekend, my heart sank.
We often wait for a tragic event to inspire change, to force us to modify our perspective on life, or to help us realize what is important. We take more time out of our day to evaluate and criticize Miley Cyrus’ escapades than we spend fully immersing ourselves in our community and pursuing a better tomorrow. We care more about what people wear than about the content of their character. When we read the news we search for scandal, deception or violence, rather than the various heroic efforts that occur around us every day. But now, I’m setting a challenge for myself, which I gladly invite anyone to join: Be yourself.
To help make sense of this simple task, I would like to highlight a poem by Dale Wimbrow called “The Guy in the Glass.”
When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.
For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.
He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest
For he’s with you clear up to the end
And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And gets pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.
Why do we care so much about the materialistic culture that surrounds us? Do the clothes you wear, the music you listen to, or the social scene you portray really represent the values that you would like people to see? It’s an archaic, self-centered attitude that we all carry. Why can’t calling up an old friend from high school be just as significant as the homework assignment that we dwell on for days on end? It is time for us to ignite a change. As University students, we pride ourselves on being the leaders of tomorrow; let’s make that belief a reality.
Due to this tragic incident, our feelings are vulnerable, and if there is any time that we can carry out positive self-reflection, it is now. We can all take a step back and examine the aspects of ourselves that we can improve. These norms should be driven by the good we have in all of us, and by the good that we can be blind to see in our peers around us. Don’t be afraid to say thank you to a stranger or tell someone that you love them. Some would call such behaviors too personal—but really, who doesn’t enjoy receiving a few words of encouragement? So next time, I dare you to hold open that door, call up an old friend, and use your free time to benefit the likes of others. But most importantly: have your actions accord with and convey who you are.
Jake Pittman is a fourth-year trustee. Columns from fourth-year trustees run Mondays in The Cavalier Daily.