The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Forget headphones

“Hey! Did you see that editorial in The Daily Campus?”

“I’m good. How’re you?”

I’m sure you’ve all experienced a situation like this. You’re walking along and you see someone familiar. As you cross paths, you want to exchange a friendly greeting but the recipient of your kind gesture happens to have his headphones in.

Now, I don’t know what your reaction is, but to me, people wearing headphones while strolling about campus send one or both of two messages:

1) I don’t want to talk to you.

2) Whatever I have stuck in my ears is more important than anything you have to say to me.

Even students that only wear a headphone in one ear get across that they’re only giving you, at most, half of their attention.

President Turner, in his opening address to the class of 2012, encouraged students not to get distracted with technology while walking across campus and to make an effort to participate in what’s happening around us. I understand the occasional phone call. Sometimes the walk between classes is the only time one might get to phone home or to call a significant other.

However, headphones are an unnecessary daily accessory. Part of the greatness of the college experience is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in a campus community with people from all over the world. We’re all a part of SMU’s immediate community.

Those individuals that don’t take the time to notice and acknowledge the people around them are not passing up the aesthetic beauty of the campus, but they are missing out on the greater beauty of the campus: the individuals that make up the community around them. After all, SMU is just buildings without the people that fill them.

In high school, I took two years of ceramics with a very wise master potter. He had no problem with us listening to music while working. But we couldn’t listen to music on our own; we listened through the speakers in the studio. If a student put in headphones, he’d jokingly ask the student to put away their “IsolationPod.”

Don’t get me wrong, I would love it if a band followed me around all day like in the Starbucks double shot commercials (“Glen, Glen, Glen, Glen!”) and changed music depending on whatever I happened to be doing at any given point in time. But I think that something we should keep in mind as we move further into the Information Age is that we created technology to help us accomplish tasks and make life more comfortable, not to separate us from one another.

It is important to keep things in perspective. What’s important at SMU and, more universally, in life, are the people in class with you, your professors, the staff, the landscapers, the Giddy-Up drivers, and everyone else. Life is about the people in it.

Wearers of headphones are electing to detach themselves from the people walking next to them instead of releasing a little groan and complaining, “Ugh…Mondays.” Don’t overlook the importance of these encounters. They are perfect. Every student can sympathize with a complaint about an 8 a.m. class on a Monday morning.

Even though saying hello in passing may not change your life, if more people said hello, the SMU community might feel a little homier. Who knows? You might see that person later, they might be kind of cute, and, without the “Ugh… Mondays” comment from earlier that day, you’d never be able to casually start up a conversation with, “So, how’d your Monday turn out?” Looks like you passed up what could’ve been something exciting in order to listen to the newest Flo Rida album while walking from Hyer to Meadows.

We’re all living at SMU with one another for a short time. Take every chance you get to cross paths with those around you. I promise you that, in the long run, meeting and learning more about other people is far more exciting and makes life far more bearable than the music you’re listening to.

Jack Benage is a freshman business and cinema-television double major. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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