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Rumor Has It…

AndreaBy Andrea Starr

The holidays couldn’t seem to come quickly enough, because by the end of the semester, everyone in the dorms seemed to be growing sick of one another. The much needed break from schoolwork may very well have also been a much needed break from the people we lived with and breathed on for that same duration. But now that we’re back on campus, will the atmosphere change with the new year? Or will we fall back into the same claustrophobic routines as before break?

While Finlandia’s small size can provide many benefits that bigger universities cannot, there are obviously some inevitable downsides as well. The close quarters not only force students to surround themselves with the same people almost constantly, but also allow information to get around campus quickly. This can be good or bad, depending on the nature of that information. For example, say the nursing students are having an event; word of mouth around campus can be very vital to this situation. However, there is also an evil that thrives on Finlandia’s small size, that well-oiled machine: the rumor mill.

Living in the dorms, I don’t even have to leave my room to catch the “hot” gossip of the day. The walls are very thin, much like the facts that people seem to base some of these rumors on. Half the things I hear, not only did I not want to hear in the first place, but also usually don’t leave me better off now that I know them. And I can’t help but to wonder if anyone else feels the same way. Do students really live for hearing about (and/or find small joys in) the misfortunes of fellow students, who’s dating whom, or the raging party the cops broke up last weekend? Are there not more important things to talk about? And does anyone even care whether or not the sources are accurate?

The thing that appalls me the most is that the mill never seems to shut down. It runs 24/7, and so far, it doesn’t seem to break for weekends or holidays. We need to stop and think about how the things we are saying and/or listening to are affecting our fellow classmates. I hate to bring back kindergarten practices to use on college-age adults, but it seems we have lost our sense of tact and respect somewhere along the way. A good rule of thumb for combatting the rumor mill is to make a conscious effort to not gossip about other people in everyday life. Be mindful of the things we say/hear with this well-known tidbit in mind: Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?

My goal is not to point fingers or place blame, for I also find myself in conversations in which I need to reevaluate my own content sometimes. I only hope that as Finlandia students, we will respect each other and truly think about the way we communicate together.

Laugh if you will, but simple steps like this can make Finlandia a better place, not only in this new year, but in years to come as well. You could, and should, also think back to the Golden Rule on this matter, because I’m sure we would all be the first to defend ourselves against a hurtful lie; no one wants to fall victim of spiteful comments, so why would we be so quick to throw our fellow classmates into the gnashing teeth of the rumor mill that we too wish to avoid?

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