Southeast Missouri State University student publication

The Pat Buck Project: Impact of the Ear - Hustler

Monday, October 7, 2019
Artwork designed by Raleigh Davis

College plays dirty. College hits below the belt, pulls punches, and all-too-often, it tries to punch through the chest.

If you aren’t a boxing aficionado, I’m saying college is rough. Not always, but more than often enough to notice.

College is fantastic, don’t get me wrong; but when freedom, joy, relaxation and pleasure go to sleep, assignments, projects, readings and exams awaken and prowl through your mental space preying on those things you most enjoy … like free time.

Just as your joy finds refuge in all-day Netflix binge and freedom sits aloft a great shady spot for the afternoon, due dates lurk in the shadows silently waiting to pounce and rip them to pieces.

You know what I’m talking about, right? When you’re out for a refreshing beverage with buddies and the class group message starts erupting with chatter of a quiz no one noticed with a midnight deadline? Oof, my friend — I’ve been there.

Or how about when you’re proactive in getting your work for the week done in one class then find out you did the wrong section later that week?

The great American philosopher Thomas Paine once said, “These are the times that try men’s souls,” and the church (full of students that Sunday) replied in a thunderous “Amen.”

As students, we all have gone through it, we do, or we will. But what the hell are you supposed to do about it? If you’re anything like this poor columnist, you complain about it. Let it out like the smoke from your suitemate’s window in your dorm.

The problem with that is what my mom always told me: “Whining gets you nothing.” This is mostly true, however, I have found that once in a while, a good whine can get you where a lot of work simply won’t.

The deeper issue with complaining? It actively works against what you’re doing. The time you spend complaining could be spent creating, brainstorming or otherwise formulating plots to solve the problem. Easier said than done, surely.

So, dear reader, what do you do when the problems arise, the complaints have been levied and the rushing white-waters of failure once again wash away your home of comfort?

You talk about it.

Don’t misunderstand that statement. I didn’t say complain about it, nor did I advise you to mumble more to yourself about how you can’t keep doing this. I said talk about it. That is, with those closest to you.

I can say more from the advice I’ve gotten from people within earshot than I can for that which I’ve obtained from the person I was actually speaking to. Of course, you can’t always count on the nearest ear-hustler to drop the most potent knowledge, but sometimes that good ear-hustler is exactly the person you needed to talk to.

An ear-hustler doesn’t have to be Rosie the Nosey Neighbor every time. Take, for instance, my situation.

I was complaining to my classmates about the coursework and how undoable I thought it was. Over my shoulder sat my professor, unbeknownst to me. As I voiced my confusion and frustration with her class, she took mental notes. As the area cleared out, she pulled me aside to talk with me about how I was handling the work and set a plan for the week to help me get on track.

Her helping me get on track set the tone for my week, and as I write to you today, I adhere to that plan.

Obviously we could have had that conversation in a meeting I could have scheduled, but my truth wouldn’t have been as potent and she wouldn’t have gotten the raw cut she did. In other words, she wouldn’t have been able to help me as well because of the filters and constraints of the conversation.

I needed her to hear what she heard– whether I knew it or not – otherwise, this post soulmay still be on the same confused track.

This is just one example, and it’s mine, so it means virtually nothing to you — I get that. However, dear reader, if you thought about it, I think you could find an example of being saved by the ear-hustler in your own experience. Yes, the lady who helped you in the grocery store when she overheard you lost on the phone counts.

My message to you, my beloved readership, is this: Speak out your issues, to whomever you can, without adding to their load. One open ear can open many more doors than you think. Just communicate with the world and keep an open ear to your environment, so maybe one day you can be the ear-hustler who helps.

Just remember not to be a know-it-all.