186 South College

grab your coffee, sit back and hang out with the UD Honors Program for a while

Month: December 2014

The Simultaneously Best and Worst Time of the Year

Ah, December.  The twelfth and final month of the year.  We’ve been through a lot this year, and it’s hard to imagine that in a few short weeks, we’re going to start over again.

For me, December is both my favorite time of the year, as well as one of my least favorite times.  How, you might ask?  I thought you’d like to know, so here it goes.

For one, my birthday is in December!  And fortunately, I am still young enough to be excited as I age (now in a few years, that’ll probably change).  I always look forward to the day that I came into this world, and I always celebrate in two ways.  One, I always have a get-together with my close friends that I care deeply about, and I also stare at my Facebook timeline as hundreds of my “friends” wish me happy birthday.

December is also known as the holiday month.  I personally celebrate Christmas, and during this month my thoughts are filled with sugar plum fairies dancing around in my head.  I like being able to take time out of my busy schedule and spend time with my family giving gifts and showing my appreciation for all that they do for me.  Besides Christmas, there is also Chanukah/Hanukah (however you choose to spell it), Kwanzaa, and for my British/Commonwealth friends, there’s Boxing Day as well.  Oh, and you can’t forget the New Year celebrations!

Yes, December is a lovely time of year with many good aspects.  However, there are also some sad things about December.  It is the month of finals, as thousands of college students across the country spend their days and nights cramming as much information into their brains as possible.  And after all of the final exams, everybody packs their belongings and heads home until the spring semester (which, for UD, doesn’t begin until early February).  I don’t like this part of December because I have to say goodbye to all of the wonderful people that I have gotten to know at college.

So as you can see, December has both positive and negative attributes, in my opinion.  But like it or not, time always continues on!

Whether you like it or not, December is here to stay (at least for 31 days)

Whether you like it or not, December is here to stay (at least for 31 days)

~Scott Eisenhart

Let’s Play Some Dominoes

Recently I volunteered with the Friendship House of Delaware at their “Saturday Morning Sanctuary” and I don’t think I will ever forget my experience. I didn’t know what to expect going into it. We entered a church in Wilmington at 8:00 in the morning to find homeless people sitting at tables, playing games and talking to each other. Some of them wouldn’t take their eyes off us. Bill, the man in charge of the event, told us that the Friendship House was an organization dedicated to helping the homeless. Every winter, they open up churches to let homeless people in to have a warm, safe place to stay on Saturday mornings. Pretty much everything was donated: coffee, tea, hot chocolate, pastries, hats, gloves, and board games. Our job as volunteers was to simply talk to the people who were staying in the church for the morning and make them feel like they are being treated like “human beings,” as Bill said. It made me a bit uncomfortable to hear him say those things right in front of all of the homeless men and women sitting nearby. Could you imagine someone talking about you like that? How must these people feel, knowing that they are not seen as important enough to be treated like human beings by some people?

Bill brought me and the two other volunteers to a few people who he knew were friendly and were comfortable sharing their situations with volunteers. I spoke to a man named Peter for most of my time there. The stereotypes of homeless people are so ridiculous; the idea that they are all just crazy people who were not motivated enough to keep up a stable lifestyle is completely untrue. Peter is one of the smartest people I have ever met. He is always reading and is interested in knowing about current events and what is happening in the world, which is more than I can say about most of my peers at the University of Delaware, honestly. He is passionate about music and about languages and traveling and movies and he even recommended some films that he thought I would enjoy watching. I also met a man named Michael who was one of the friendliest people I have ever met. He walked over to me and asked if I wanted to play dominoes with him, and we played game after game. He always had a smile on his face and a joke to tell.

I feel like people wouldn’t expect these things from a homeless person. So they don’t have a home. Why should that take away a person’s intelligence, kindness, dignity, or their humanity? Some of these people have dealt with horrible things – depression, suicide attempts, incarceration, divorce – and I think it is disgusting to look down upon them for their economic situations.

At around 11:00, Bill announced that the church would be closing and that everyone would have to leave. I said goodbye to my new friends, and was filled with sadness as they left. Where will they go now? What is going to happen to them? It was so cold outside and while I had the comfort of knowing in the back of my mind that I would end up in my warm on-campus dorm, these people did not have that privilege. It makes me so angry to think about how unfair it is that some people in this country have millions of dollars just sitting in their bank accounts, while other people are out on the streets with just a backpack to hold all of their belongings. We live in such a cruel world. But all I know is that I made a difference to Peter and Michael for one morning. I offered them a smile and some friendly interaction, something that Bill said they do not usually have due to their living situations. I gave them a few hours in which they could forget about their own lives and just have a friend that they could play with and talk to. Something as simple as that can truly mean a lot to someone.

I plan on volunteering with the Friendship House more often at their “Saturday Morning Sanctuary” events and I hope that I have convinced other readers to help out as well. Especially during this time of year, it is important to give back and to be thankful for what you have because you never know when you may lose it all.

Heather, Bill, and two other volunteers inside the church.

Heather, Bill, and two other volunteers inside the church.

The list of movies that Peter gave to Heather.

The list of movies that Peter gave to Heather.

~Heather Brody

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