Heads or tails.
We all have to make choices every day. Some are good, some aren’t. Last week, I made a bad decision.
I wrote an editorial for the Northwest Missourian. Our opinion editor, Tom, wanted me to write about my experiences with local landlords. If you follow me on Twitter or search the hashtag #BCVProbs, You know i’m not particularly shy about my current living situation.
I want to sleep… but since I live literally right behind the Sig Ep house and they’re having a party, that’s not going to happen #BCVProbs
— Andrew G. Benson (@02Benson) September 14, 2013
In between classes, I sat down to begin writing. It was Tuesday, hours before deadline and I told Tom that I was almost done with it. Doing things at the last minute on a tight deadline was nothing to me. I mastered that skill two years ago.
At first I struggled with the format. I knew what I wanted to say, but I didn’t know how to say it. I began writing it as if it were an open letter but I just couldn’t get the right tone that way. I came off sounding like an arrogant entitled prick, not a student just trying to help other students.
I moved on to more of an informative piece. Facts and numbers to support my argument were abundant. It is no secret that landlords sometimes do take advantage of the fact that many students don’t know their legal rights when dealing with real estate. That version was boring and heavy with very little human emotion. Not a good read.
I finally settled on just telling a story. I wrote it out as if I was telling a friend about my experiences and what I have learned. That version seemed to work because I wanted people to listen and relate. Response to the article was mixed.
Students appreciated the work and what I had to say. It was timed to work with people looking for a new place. My landlord however, wasn’t pleased.
I tried to keep it balanced. I admitted my faults in the tenancy and challenged other students to be better tenants. I missed one detail and it was an important one. I didn’t take into account all the hard work landlords put in in May to make the move from one location to another go smoothly. Understanding the landlords side of a conflict changed my outlook on things that I thought were just unfair.
If I hadn’t waited until the last minute to do the editorial, I probably would have seen it. College students often times divide themselves up into different categories. There’s the Work Andrew, the major-course Andrew, the gen-ed Andrew, the social life Andrew and the family Andrew. That’s a lot to keep up with leaving a lot of room for unneeded error.
We need to stop doing things at the last min. I learned this lesson late, but better late than never.