Not Getting Cornered

By a Student

   As you acclimate yourself to our picturesque grounds and houses, I am sure you will find the transition to Mr. Jefferson's university an easy one. Between football games, Greek rush, and the intimate setting of your housing, making friends should be a breeze. Therefore, my purpose here is not to help you meet people, but, rather, to avoid some.

Few broach the subject, but I think it my duty to relay what so many, including myself, have experienced while walking on the Corner. With any trip to the shops or restaurants on Main Street you are bound to encounter a homeless person. As unfortunate and inevitable this run-in may be, its impact can be lessened with these three simple rules:

  • Speed up. Picking up the pace will both shorten the window of possible contact and minimize the duration of your discomfort. Also avoid eye contact.

  • Limit any verbal exchange. I would recommend you abstain from any conversation whatsoever, but if for some reason a momentary stroke of compassion strikes you, limit talking to "hello" or possibly a "how are you?" Continue to walk briskly. After all, what insight could you possibly gain from such a person. Life is not enriched so much by your relationships with fellow humans, but by whatever you are on your way to purchase.

  • Under no circumstances should you give money. What's the sense in giving them your parents' hard-earned money? Such generosity to these people only promotes their shiftlessness and drinking habits. If asked for money, respond with a simple "I'm sorry". (We wouldn't want to lie and break the honor code, even to a homeless person).

  • With these three rules you are sure to make all your trips to Eljo's much more satisfying. Your four years here are not to be marked by who you helped or much less who you sat down and actually listened to. It is your noble degree from UVA that will launch you into a position where you can solve the world's problems, or just make more money than you ever dreamed. Remember: you can only take care of yourself here in college. The problems of the real world are not your concern, and hopefully never will.

    On my honor as a proper U.Va. student, I have neither given nor received aid on this assignment, nor to anyone in need.

    ENLT 214M, OCTOBER 1997