In times of sorrow it is often said that “each person grieves in their own way.” What this really means is that each of us has our own unique way of confronting and being a participant in life’s happenings. The past week on campus is an extreme, yet worthwhile example.

The Georgetown responses to the horrors of Sept. 11 varied greatly. Most people wanted to be active. Some ran or participated in blood drives, helped with information tables, actively discussed the U.S. response, painted peace banners, frantically wrote news stories, went to vigils and some grieved for the loss of a loved one (G-d be with them). In our own way, each of us had a place in the campus community. Each of us did one thing or a few things very well in responding to the recent events.

Thinking about our extreme, yet appropriate, activities in response to Tuesday the 11th, I am left wondering about our day to day campus activities, our responses to life, when things are “normal” (although this week has surely changed this word’s meaning). Does each of us do one or a few things really well, or are we caught running in 50 directions, each toward mediocrity?

Often people recount tales of how they went to SAC Fair their freshmen year and signed up for 15 clubs and organizations. If this was not the case, or even if it was, they may have also been involved in a club sport, written for the campus media and played video games non-stop for hours on end. When students arrive at Georgetown, they run in 50 directions, trying to find their own paths, and this is healthy until a natural routine is found. This routine is what keeps each of us on track.

The problem with being involved in 15 things is not that one stops enjoying them, but that one simply cannot participate in each fully. Our time, energy, talent and resources dictate this fact. When discussing campus activities and what one participates in, one often points out the notion that only a small portion of the student body actually participates in any activities at all, while everyone else just sits around doing their school work. Frankly, I think this is complete nonsense.

The reality is that most students do participate in campus activities, but instead of spreading themselves thin, most choose one or a few, and do them well. By participating in a Mask & Bauble production or practicing three days a week with the club ultimate Frisbee team someone is active, even if that’s the only thing they do. The problem is when we try to do all of these at the same time. It has taken me three years, but instead of being inactive in eight activities, I’m active in two or three.

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s events, a friend of mine wanted ideas for what she could do to help with the campus efforts. She wanted to be active in the blood drives, the information tables, the peace banners, and everything else all at once, in order to help out in the best way possible. After a long discussion about the campus reaction, I responded that the best thing she could do was not be active in every single effort, but choose one or two and do them well. Looking around me, I have seen so many people step up to the plate and take action in this time of extreme crisis. Each of us has something we are good at, whether it be organizational skills or painting. This week, I have seen people take their skills and put them to real, positive use. If we could take this sentiment into our everyday activities, I only wonder how much more real, how much more positive, each of our activities could become.

Aaron Kass is a senior in the College.

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