Opinion: The Simmons Cycle of Complaint


Image courtesy of Simmons University.

Piper Summer, Contributing Writer

It’s no secret that Simmons isn’t perfect. Like every university, it has various flaws and strengths. At times, it’s completely warranted to point out these flaws, such as questioning the precautions public safety is taking after a bag is stolen, or noticing issues with the dining hall food. At other times, it seems incessant. 

While it’s important to be aware of problems as they present themselves, and to advocate for ourselves and our peers, very quickly constructive criticism can turn into unhelpful complaining. It can also be difficult to decipher when you’re in the moment. When I’m talking to my close friend, a brief mention of how cold the dorm is tonight can turn into a long-winded conversation about Res-Life and the quality of living for students.

This type of interaction can be okay once in a while, and venting can be a way of relieving stress when done correctly. However, if done frequently, it can become unpleasant for everyone involved. When students ruminate on every bad thing, it can take away mental energy from important things as well. When I am constantly confronted with bad news, it can cause me to become pessimistic and lose sight of what’s important.

If there is an issue on campus you care about, there are ways to go about that without adopting a negative attitude. The Who Can Help website can be a great resource. About a month ago, my floor was having a heated discussion about hair in the drains of the shower on and off for a couple of weeks. One of my friends on the floor put in a work order, and by the end of the week, the drains were cleaned. 

It’s unreasonable to expect every issue can be solved quickly, and some issues at Simmons will take time to resolve through persistent student advocacy. Taking the time to come up with realistic solutions and courses of action can allow students to feel more empowered and create a more productive culture. 

It’s also not necessary to be optimistic all the time— toxic positivity is real, and it’s okay to acknowledge what’s going wrong. It’s also okay to ask your friends to switch the subject or to ask to defer the subject.

The bottom line is to use your voice to improve your situation and be aware of how you’re expressing your concerns to avoid becoming stuck in a cycle of complaint.