Just be kind.

Alright. I don’t like confrontation, and I don’t usually go ranting on the internet (unless it’s tweeting about the weather). But I will make an exception just this once because this is a subject I feel deserves to be talked about. How will anything change if we don’t talk about the things that bother us?

Since the very beginning of the term, there has been one particular student in one of my classes that I try to avoid. They interrupt lecture with their ideas, put other students down when they speak up in class and sit at the back of the class whispering and snickering so everyone can hear. It’s a fairly big class though, and I figured I could ignore them and keep to myself.

A few weeks into class I had to do a presentation by myself. I’m usually fairly confident when it comes to presentations, and did my best to prepare something I hoped wouldn’t bore my peers to tears. But even the greatest amount of preparation and confidence won’t help when someone laughs at the things you say, or scoffs as if they know more than you. I lost my place a few times, but managed to get through the presentation by ignoring said person and focusing on the few people that seemed genuinely interested.

Like most of my friends, I am trying to survive exam season. Due to stress, my skin has been acting up and I woke up with some very unfortunate pimples that weren’t going anywhere… I just decided to take extra care with my skincare routine and have a makeup free Monday to help my skin breathe. All good things right? I was feeling totally okay about going makeup free even with my break out. So when I got to my final lecture of the day, my breakout was far from my thoughts.

I got to class early, and sat with some homework while my classmates filed in. The student I’ve been talking about was already in class and full of things to say. Now there are some beautiful women in this class who show up looking fierce with amazing outfits and makeup, and it’s always kind of fun for me to see what people are wearing! Apparently not everyone feels as supportive.

There is a girl whom I’ve talked to a few times, who is always extremely kind and was one of my supporters when I was doing my presentation. She always has an incredible makeup on, and I admire her for that. You go girl! I mean… It’s a good day if I’m wearing mascara. I totally appreciate her effort. As she walked into class, the student sitting a few rows back from me said in a loud whisper: “Wow.. Some of the girls in this class wear WAY too much makeup..”

It was loud enough that people turned around to look. I turned around as well, and shot the student a look.

They caught my eye, and as I turned around I heard them say “…and some people don’t wear enough makeup.”

I was shaking. The comment was so blatantly pointed right at me. They spoke in a soft whisper that I could hear clearly from a few rows in front of them, but not loud enough that the people who had previously turned around would do so again.

They went on to criticize a couple girls that showed up wearing high waisted jeans and crop tops, commenting on their curves and name calling. I was red in the face and fuming by the time our prof began lecture.

I still have no words. I will never understand why some people feel entitled to be so outwardly cruel and judgemental. It really doesn’t matter to me if they thought I should do them a favour and cover up my blemishes to appear more attractive because I’m not going to do that. The comment itself isn’t really what hurts, because I honestly don’t need this person’s approval to feel good about myself.

But the fact that they purposefully wanted to hurt me and the other women they were commenting on makes me feel sick to the stomach. It makes me sad and angry and frustrated that we still haven’t learned to be supportive and good to each other. It also makes me angry because this student was surrounded by people and not one of us told him to shut up and stop being an a@#. I wish I had it in me to stick up for myself and these other beautiful women. Instead, I went home ranted to Adam and am now listening to “Mean” by Taylor Swift as I write this.

The photo above was taken this afternoon. My hair isn’t styled, I’m not wearing any makeup, and my skin is looking much better today because I took care of it properly… Not to mention the fact that the midafternoon lighting did wonders to smooth over my skin in the photograph. I’m not smiling or posing, and I’m certainly not trying to be anything I’m not. It’s just a snapshot of a moment that shows me as I am. I’m lucky that I feel comfortable enough in my own skin to post this picture with pride.

I guess the point of this whole post is to say that I want everyone to think twice before offering negative commentary. Be supportive, treat people well and let your legacy be one of kindness. I will forever look back on this class and remember the kind people that stood up for me and showed support. But in ten years will I remember that student that put everyone down? Probably not. Because someday I will be someone I’m proud of, and “all you’re ever gonna be is mean”.

End rant.

How will you spread kindness around?

Sincerely, Rowan

 

10 comments

  1. I agree with Krista, this is unacceptable behaviour and would be qualified under harassment and workplace bullying if it had been in a work environment. I believe the university also has similar policies?

    Some people take a while to leave high school behind. I’m sorry you had to experience this and I do think approaching the prof is worth it.

    1. Thank you! The people I surround myself with make me a better person, and I feel so lucky that you are part of my life! Sending hugs to you xox

  2. Well done you! This girl is just a bitch, and you’ve done really well not to let her get to you, which is easier said than done! And the truth is, she’s probably just jealous and majorly insecure. I almost feel sorry for her! Good on you for being strong! xxx

    1. Thank you! It means so much to get support on this issue. I think you are totally right. There is no reason to be cruel to others when you feel good about yourself. I feel sorry for them as well.
      Sincerely, Rowan xo

  3. Wow. I’m so furious on your behalf. That student’s comments are beyond inappropriate. No student has the right to comment on the appearance of another student. It’s more than just being unkind, it’s blatant objectification of women, and it is not okay.

    If the student is a constant disruption in other ways, I’m curious about how your prof deals with it. It might be worth mentioning to him or her, privately, that the disruptions are ongoing.

    Ultimately, though, you shouldn’t have to put up with that. I hope you won’t be in to many more classes with that jerk.

    1. Thank you for your support! It is a relief knowing that kind people are out there! Today was the last day of the class for the semester, which means that I will never have to deal with this person again. That being said, I do think I will reach out to my prof just to make sure she is aware of the things going on at the background of her classroom.
      Sincerely, Rowan xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *