Reach out to peers, be the friend someone needs


by Katie Anthony

In the chaos of the new semester, and considering this is the Perspectives section, I would like to share some perspective with you.

As cliché as this question is: have you ever stopped to smell the roses? Perhaps for you, this isn’t a literal question. But have you ever taken the time to actually slow down from the chaos to appreciate the small things?

Do you appreciate the random smiles you get from strangers? The shoulders you have to cry on? The ones that you can call in a time of need? The ability to overcome trials?

These things may seem petty and like little things that you just expect to be there, but not everyone is that fortunate.

Some people struggle. Some people struggle to the point that they feel they have no other escape.

I’ve lived in Iowa for 10 years, and eight out of the 10 years I’ve lived here, I have lost a friend to suicide. Have I blamed myself for every one? The majority of them, yes. I have felt responsible. I feel that I’m a good friend (or I’m told I’m a good friend) and that I should have had some sixth sense that my friends were in trouble.

The reality (and it took years of therapy for me to grasp this reality) is you can’t see it coming—but you may be able to help someone in need.

If you see someone who’s having a bad day, whether they’re crying or just looking down, where is the harm in just smiling at them? And for those of you who are really adventurous and really want to help those who may need it, ask them if they need to talk. Really, where is the harm in that?

I’ve challenged you before, Simpson College, and I’m here to challenge you again.

Go out and make yourself a little uncomfortable by asking someone how their day is going. Ask them how they’re doing today. Smile at them. Hold a door open for someone. The smallest gestures that we can take for granted can mean the world to someone else.

I challenge you all, over 1,000 people, to go out there and make a positive difference in this world. You could make a new best friend.

You could meet a significant other. For all you know, you could save a life. You could save a life with a simple smile.

Reach out to those in need, this world really does need a love revolution, and I believe that it can start right here in little Indianola, Iowa.

Let’s make it happen, Simpson.