Interregnum: Bringing Out our Best and Worst

This article is part of an Opinion series on the Interregnum theme of Compassion

 Photo courtesy of Sungjun Kim

Photo courtesy of Sungjun Kim

I enjoyed reading the recent op-eds reflecting on Interregnum. However, I do find it interesting that both pieces have chided the community for student behavior during Interregnum. Both opinion pieces emphasized students’ behavior during the opening-night lecture, and both referenced tweets from that night in their critique of the community.

I will certainly not disagree that the Twitter feed from opening lecture demonstrated a lamentable lack of respect for differing opinions and for Dr. Olasky’s speech. However, I think focusing solely on opening lecture and the tweets from it does a disservice to the community as a whole.

I’m going to be honest: I was one of the students tweeting during the lecture; that is obvious, and you can see it online. But I also saw the other students that were tweeting. I think it is all too easy to focus on the negativity, but if you scroll back through the Interregnum hashtag I think you’ll find that not only is there little blatant negativity, but also that the number of students tweeting is only a small fraction of our student body.

Now, obviously, only a minority engaging in negative tweeting does not excuse disrespect, but to solely focus on that minority is not an honest reflection of the week.

To focus on that hate and disrespect only enflames it. Not acknowledging the genuine love and compassion within the community does a disservice to our student body.

So let me tell you about the Interregnum that I know myself and others experienced.

This Interregnum, I saw students who never talk to each other laughing and having fun together. This Interregnum I saw people with differing opinions talking their ideas out while riding on scooters and dancing together. This Interregnum I saw students stepping up to compete for their House at the last minute when other students were too anxious or too stressed to follow through on their commitments. I saw the House of Ten Boom passing out boxes of Oreos to all the other Houses with loving handwritten notes. I saw the House of Thatcher passing out balloons to others that shared cheery messages. I saw brother and sister Houses supporting each other during debates and speeches, and I saw the genuine love of students for others in their community. I saw too many students to list freely giving their time and talent to serve their Houses, even if it made their own weeks more stressful or difficult.

I saw girls from multiple Houses use the Performing Arts competition to share their struggles with the community. I then saw the community turn around and support them in their grief and despair. Yes, Interregnum does bring out the worst in some people. Yes, people get over-competitive and tweet out mean things or create anonymous accounts to spew vitriolic hatred. Yes, people respond to others’ openness with derisive insults.

We could have acted better; that is undeniable. We could have shown more respect. But to focus on that hate and disrespect only enflames it. Not acknowledging the genuine love and compassion within the community does a disservice to our student body.

Interregnum brings out the worst in the student body, but it also brings out the best. To ignore the best is to disregard the overflow of connection and compassion that our community is capable of. We can be better, but to be better we must first “cling to what is good” and “be devoted to one another in love.”

The opinions reflected in this OpEd are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of staff, faculty and students of The King's College