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Anaika Miller: Please, say “thank you”


Credit: Anaika MillerFor the past three days, I’ve been helping move other UCLA students into their dorms.

Volunteers like myself are called MIAs, though I’m not sure whether this started as an abbreviation for Move-In Assistant or as a way to describe the status of almost all of the volunteers come midday (when the temperature is at its highest).

Anyway, as MIAs, our main objective during move-in weekend was to get students into their dorms, and their parents off of campus, as quickly as possible. For the most part, I think we did a pretty good job.

No matter how hot the LA sun felt, I tried to be as friendly and welcoming as possible. I unloaded luggage from cars into carts and made small talk with anxious parents during my four-hour shifts (in case you’re wondering, the incentive of being an MIA is free food, a free T-shirt and early arrival). I even extended a compliment to a frazzled-looking girl wearing a Doctor Who shirt yesterday, but I don’t think she heard me.

While most people returned my kindness, some people let their true personalities show yesterday in the 90-degree heat.

Now, I wasn’t expecting anybody to compliment my shirt since I had to wear the free, yellow* T-shirt all three days, and I understand that I’m just a lowly volunteer. No, what irked me was some of the rude behavior I saw yesterday.

I counted several boys that were paying absolutely no attention as their mothers/sisters/grandmothers pushed their carts and asked directions for them. A girl snapped at her mom for not figuring out what parking lot they should go to beforehand. There was even a girl who yelled at her dad for how much stuff she had packed (this incident made the least amount of sense to me). And the list goes on. {sidebar id=65}

Yesterday, the parking lot was filled with an air of entitlement. Yes, moving is stressful, but it’s no excuse for ingratitude. I think we often forget that wherever we are in life, we wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for other people. This is especially true when the “we” refers to new college students.

We’ve worked hard to get here, so for some reason, there are a few of us who expect other people to make this next step in our lives easy. But life isn’t easy, and college is supposed to be more like the “real world” than anything we’ve ever experienced before.

In the “real world,” people are responsible for, let’s say, finding out what parking lot they need to unload in or what building they need to check into. They’re responsible for how much they pack. They’re responsible for treating others the way they deserve to be treated. 

Hard work can help get you where you want to go in life, but it’s not everything. People are important. One of the biggest mistakes you can make at this point in your life is to take good relationships with family and friends for granted. If all else fails, at least they’ll be there to help you move out in the summer. And, seriously, you’ll need them, because I don’t think that there is such a thing as an MOA. 

So, to all you high-schoolers: start practicing graciousness and responsibility now. We’ll all be better for it. 

Footnote: *It is a well-known fact that I look awful in yellow.

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Anaika Miller: Please, say “thank you”