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COLUMN

In this fast-paced college life, there’s little time to waste. We go about campus, dashing from one class or appointment to the next. This we do from the all-too-eager rise of the sun till its setting.

Is this a problem? No. After all, our hard work is ordained by God to grow us, give us satisfaction in our accomplishments and give Him glory.

No, the problem isn’t our busy schedules. It’s our focus.

I’ve noticed that I tend to whip out my phone every time I have a spare minute—in between classes, on the sidewalk, even in line for dinner.

There’s rarely much to look at, but it’s what everybody does. So I scroll through social media as I stand, walk or wait.

In fact, almost everyone does the same thing. We walk zombie-like down the sidewalk, eyes riveted to the screen just inches from our noses, thumbs flying furiously from letter to letter.

I get it. This is me a majority of the time.

But recently, I’ve made a resolution to look at my phone as little as possible, especially between classes.

It’s definitely saved me the embarrassment of walking into obstacles such as people or poles. Besides that, it’s helped me focus my attention on what matters most—people.

This challenge has been good for me—healthy. But the implementation hasn’t been quite so smooth.

If I see a friend, I’ll throw up my hand for a wave. Of course, the phone-focused-friend usually misses it, so everyone around probably thinks I’m schizophrenic. I usually try to play it off by twisting a curl, but it never fools anyone.

On the bright side, I’m beginning to notice and remember faces. Believe it or not, on a campus of about 3,000 students, face recognition is actually possible. Next up: names!

There are great people all around you. Potential friends. Real friends—not just cyber friends. All you have to do is look up! Cultivate the art of civility. The world could use more of it, and so could our university campus.

One person who has made my day on many occasions is Dr. Paul Overly, professor in the Division of Music. I’ve never formally introduced myself to him. In fact, he probably has no idea who I am. But he’s made a difference in me. How? He simply greets me on the sidewalk every single time I walk by. Without fail. It makes me feel special. It encourages me. And it challenges me to have that kind of effect on others.

Dr. Overly challenged me by his example, so now I challenge you.

Resolve to stay off your phone as much as possible on the sidewalks. Look around at our beautiful campus. Flash a sincere smile. Make a habit of greeting at least five people with a smile in between every class. Do your part to create a culture of grace at BJU, not just out of kindness but out of Christlikeness.

After all, it’s better to be the person waving at nobody than to be the person failing to notice anybody.