Be ‘selfish’ in healthy, positive way

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While scanning through a collection of daily headlines, also known as Facebook, I came across this status from one of my friends.

“Really sad that selfishness is an attitude actively promoted by this university,” wrote Alexis Alvarez, 21. “Disappointed in our Student Government for endorsing this.”

Photos of the source were included: a palm card from our pupil overlords which, on the front, said, “These are your four years to be selfish. Make yourself the priority,” and, on the back, read, “And remember, you live in a place where people vacation.”

First of all, do people vacation in Coral Gables? Do they really drive 30 minutes from South Beach just to waft the duck-poop Yankee Candle that dominates the campus’s atmosphere? Note: It would be called, “Granny Smith Crapple.”

Either way, the post was flooded with passionate, paragraph-long comments from friends supporting Alexis’s thesis, responses that they probably put more thought into than their homework.

Later on, Alexis informed me that a member of Student Government actually emailed her afterward to explain that this was a quote from Adam Levine, a former Student Government senator who passed away a few weeks ago.

Now, I knew Adam since we were 10 years old at Jewish sleep-away camp, and it makes sense that he said this, especially considering that before we started school at UM, he actually posted a photo on Facebook of the view at South Beach that said something along the lines of “I can’t believe my school is at the beach!!!!!” Love that kid.

Nevertheless, I believe my friend Adam’s point was that you need to remember to do the things that make you happy. He didn’t literally mean “be selfish.” And considering our religion, he also didn’t mean “be shellfish.”

Because Adam was one of the most selfless people I knew, you could see that in the way he included people in the activities that made him happy. He understood it was important to make mental wellness a priority. And now, you can learn from Adam by taking control of the aspects of your lives that can promote better living.

For example, I know we are all picking our classes for next semester, and please believe me when I say you should space them out.

You need time in between classes to let your life breathe. Imagine trying to eat your three meals back-to-back-to-back. There’s no way you could hold all of that in there (insert dining hall diarrhea joke here).

Secondly, venture to the greater outdoors.

Take a walk around our lake. Sit on a rocking chair and watch the sunset on the Intramural fields. If your motivation is to go outside so you can take heavily filtered Instagrams to brag to your friends about your school choice … fine. I love showing off to the safety schools in Connecticut anyway.

And, most importantly, you need people. You cannot achieve any career without love in your life, or you will forget how to form and maintain intimate connections with your own species. Without that, you will forget how to better serve the people you are trying to help with your occupation in the first place. There’s a reason Wal-Mart’s most basic position is referred to as a people greeter. It’s the fundamental foundation of service, and for understanding Mufasa’s death by working on Black Friday.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. But that is why we have hundreds of clubs on OrgSync.

Reach out to the ones that interest you, or pick the most random ones that you never imagined yourself participating in. As long as you are sincere and paying attention to the people you meet, you can develop long-lasting relationships.

And if you don’t see a club you like, start a new one. People always respond to initiative and passion. Maybe a Yankee Candle club?

Danny New is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. The Maturity Column runs alternate Mondays.

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