It’s that point in the semester where student morale is starting to fade. With projects, lab reports, papers, group presentations and exams underway, these last few weeks of the semester can feel like an academic marathon and sprint rolled into one. Add on the additional stressors and anxieties of a global pandemic and a year’s worth of online learning, Penn State students are facing a uniquely challenging environment going into finals week this semester. Now more than ever—Nittany Lions need to lift each other up.
VALLEY highly encourages you to (continue to) be kind to others. This past year and semester have been taxing for all Penn Staters, including students, faculty and staff, so a small act of kindness could really make someone’s day. Whether you reach out to a friend or extend a nice gesture to a complete stranger, being kind doesn’t have to be an extravagant feat. Spread some love through Happy Valley with these random acts of kindness.
Compliment a Stranger
Talking to someone you don’t know can feel a bit intimidating sometimes, but VALLEY challenges you to compliment a fellow Nittany Lion—even if you’ve never talked to them before. This is a really simple and easy way to brighten someone’s day (VALLEY knows they’ll appreciate it!), and you can do it anywhere.
On Zoom? No problem—try messaging one of your peers at the beginning of class. Waiting on your Hub Starbucks mobile order? No biggie—tell the person standing next to you that you love their shoes! On your way to make a Target run? You got this—compliment one of the employees at check-out!
There are so many opportunities to make a positive touchpoint in someone else’s day. Take advantage and spread those compliments!
Surprise a Friend with Their Favorite Snack
You know your friends best. Do they absolutely love sugar-free iced vanilla lattes from Starbucks? Do they have cravings for the mint-flavored KitKats? Or even have an obsession with chocolate-covered Oreos? Whatever your bestie’s favorite snack or treat is, surprising them with it will surely make their day.
While this random act of kindness is especially appreciated when your friends are having a crazy week with school or going through a rough patch, surprising your friends completely out of the blue is also amazing. Show how much you care about your buddies and try surprising one of them with their favorite snack. It’ll make their heart so happy.
Write Notes of Encouragement to Your Friends and Others
When heavy exam weeks have your buddies bogged down, support them by writing a small note of encouragement. Sometimes when you have so much going on with school, you tend to forget how much you’ve actually accomplished, so make sure to remind your friends that they’re doing great!
For this random act of kindness, try writing a hand-written note instead of sending a text. While texts of support and encouragement are always a good start, there’s something about a hand-written note that is incredibly heart-felt. Start off with something like this…
“Dear Katherine, I know you have a lot going on this week—but you are crushing it! I am so proud of how hard you’re working. You will do fantastic on all of your exams! Summer is just around the corner <3 Julia”
However, there’s also no need for a formal occasion to engage in this random act of kindness. If you want to reach more Nittany Lions, try leaving a sticky note letter somewhere for people to find. Perhaps your residence hall study lounge requires a little cheering up or the HUB study rooms could use some words of support! Try writing a short note of encouragement on a sticky note and leave it for others to find. You never know who may need a little cheering up.
Text Someone You Haven’t Spoken to in a While
If remote learning and online classes have taught us anything, it’s that sometimes it is difficult to stay in touch with all of your Nittany Lion friends near and far. If there’s someone you’ve lost touch with during the pandemic, VALLEY encourages you to reach out.
People can get busy and drift apart, but it takes just a few seconds to send a text and let someone know you’re thinking about them. Check-up on a friend who you maybe haven’t talked to in a while and see how they are. An out-of-the-blue text message or phone call is a small gesture with big impacts.
Send an Appreciation Text or Email to Friends, Mentors and Professors
Finally, try sending random notes, texts and emails of appreciation to those who are instrumental to your life here at Penn State.
Friends are one of the most powerful support systems while here on campus. If you have an amazing group of friends that you absolutely couldn’t live without—tell them! Let your friends know how much they mean to you. Completely random notes of appreciation and gratitude are tremendously special. Text your friends this week and tell them how much you love them.
Mentors and professors who have worked tirelessly to support your academic and professional journeys—even during a global pandemic—are exceptional people to have in your life. Please sincerely thank those faculty members, coaches, teaching assistants and mentors who have worked so hard to support you over the years. Even if you haven’t been able to reach out in a while, send that email or write that note. Share your gratitude for their help and support. They will greatly appreciate hearing from you.
Most importantly, remember that you never know what trials each and every Nittany Lion is truly facing in life, so always strive to be kind to others. These random acts of kindness will help you spread love throughout Happy Valley and positively impact our Penn State community. Strive to make someone’s day because Nittany Lions need to stick together. We are Penn State.