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The problem with promises

in Opinions/Staff Editorials by

Swatties love to make promises. Whether it is promising that you will go support your friend at their game, read over a classmate’s essay, or finish your homework before midnight, we are all constantly making promises both to ourselves and to others. The problem is we aren’t very good at keeping them.

It is not that we are maliciously promising to do things that we know we cannot do. We genuinely think that we can do it all until we can’t. A combination of not wanting to say no to anyone and thinking that we can do everything has led most of us to overcommit.

It starts small, skipping one item on your to do list for the day, or promising yourself you will get it done tomorrow or this upcoming weekend. Maybe you get part of it done, but eventually something drops. This is usually at the very last second, not wanting to admit to ourselves before we have to that we misjudged what we could do. We send a hasty apology note to the friend, classmate, or professor and move onto the next thing on our inevitably long to do list.

This overcommitment culture goes beyond just the student body population to the professors and the administration. Professors promise they will get your paper back to you next class, which turns into next week, or two weeks. The administration promises that the Pittenger-Palmer connector will be done by the weekend, when in reality it is going to take two weeks. This leads to ramifications across the college. There’s always someone else suffering the consequences of unkept promises.

This community needs to take a step back and do some self-evaluation. When we unintentionally make empty promises, it decreases the weight our promises hold in the future. As we slowly get accustomed to making excuses for our broken promises we also become accustomed and desensitized to seeing other people exhibit the same behavior. How can we fault our friends for bailing on dinner when you bailed the week before? When you turn your paper in a few days late, it is only natural to accept it back a few days later than when the teacher originally promised for it to be back. It’s far too easy to condone these kinds of  broken promises from the administration when we ourselves are so accustomed to doing it ourselves.

While it is extremely important for students to engage with the administration if we want to see any lasting change, it is unsurprising that students choose not to because of the way we fail to follow through.  It is difficult to have a conversation to make an impact when both sides are accustomed to shirking responsibility when we inevitably overcommit. As we dive into midterms, we as a community should be conscious when committing to things, in an effort to practice self care and also change our expectations of promises in order to move forward collaboratively to enact real change.


Fall break offers commitments, new opportunities for students

in News by

Fall Break, the annual break approximately halfway through fall semester, begins this Friday, Oct. 7. Although the break is a much welcomed repose for many students to visit their friends and families at home, athletes often have commitments during this time. Boys’ soccer, a fall sport, has practice every day during the break, as well as two games.

When he isn’t practicing for soccer, Daniel Lee ’20 plans to take advantage of down time at Swarthmore without classes.

“A couple of my friends and I are planning on going to Philly since we’ll have a bunch of time to kill … it’ll be nice to finally be able to go to Philly because we’ve been busy on weekends because of games,” Lee said.

However, fall sports are not the only commitments students have  during the break. Girls’ basketball, a winter sport, has their first official practice on Sunday, Oct. 16. However, they come back from break early in order to get to know each other better as a team.

“We come back on Friday for a team retreat where we workout, cook meals as a team, and have the chance to share some personal stuff about ourselves,” said Raina Williams ’18. “It’s a great bonding experience.”

Friday, Oct. 14 is also an eventful time for Peaslee Debate Club, which will be attending a Pro-Am tournament at American University. Six teams will be competing at the tournament, with each team consisting of one novice debater and one varsity debater.

“It’s cool, just because novice debaters have the ability to team with someone who’s more experienced, so we’re definitely going to learn a lot from the tournament,” said Cassandra Stone ’20.

The Outsider’s Club is also taking advantage of the week-long break to introduce new club members to what the club does. The club plans to go on a backpacking trip to the Allegheny Front Trail in the Black Moshannon State Park in Philipsburg, PA.

“This particular trail is especially nice because it is not terribly rugged, which means that … [it]  is suitable for backpackers of any experience level, and this particular place was the best fit for us,” Elias Blinkoff ’17, president of Outsiders club, said.

Blinkoff believes taking a trip during fall break is beneficial for both new and seasoned backpackers.

“The more experienced backpackers have an opportunity to teach skills to the more novice backpackers that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to teach here on campus. There are all of these valuable skills about being comfortable and surviving in the woods that really can only be taught on trail,” Blinkoff said. “Usually, it’s a nice experience for both the new backpackers and the more experienced folks, just to have that communication around context that wouldn’t necessarily crop up in a different environment.”

While many are spending their breaks focusing on the world outside campus, Henry Han ’20 and Natasha Markov-Riss ’20 have a plan to be implemented at Swarthmore. The two are working on starting a late-night, on campus food service called “Late Nite,” which will serve dumplings delivered to dorms on campus.

“[We] see a niche that we think could be filled the late night food niche and we’re trying to tackle that from two angles. One, we want to provide a really convenient food source, and two, we want to make it available at times when other food sources aren’t,” Markov-Riss said.

During fall break, the two are working on building the groundwork for their business. “We’re going to be building an app that will allow people to order those dumplings at the click of a button, we’re going to be researching insurance options, and we’re also going to perfect our dumpling recipe and do some trial cook ups,” Markov-Riss said.

“Late Nite” will serve its dumplings in red solo cups, and in keeping with its late night party theme, plans to donate 10 percent of profits to the NuWave social organization.

“We’re very excited about it; we’ve heard a lot of positive feedback from the community,” Markov-Riss said. “We’ll be ready to launch when we come back from fall break!”

Fall break will last for 10 days, with classes resuming on Monday, Oct. 17.


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