Opinion: A thank you to campus

Christina Bucciere is a senior journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at cbuccier@kent.edu.

Christina Bucciere is a senior journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Christina Bucciere

When I stepped on campus for the first time in August 2012, I expected the worst. For weeks, I armed myself with self-reassurances and total dismissals of the unwelcoming people I expected to find.

It had nothing to do with Kent State; I would have expected the worst on any campus. It surely doesn’t help that I err on the pessimistic side of the spectrum, but when I became an amputee, I was convinced my life was doomed to never-ending ostracism.

I was wrong.

The Kent State population has been nothing but welcoming, kind and open to me and my metal legs. When I thought I would get looks of disgust, I got smiles. When I thought people would run scared, they walked toward me instead, willing to give me a chance despite my differences.

Maybe I was too hard on humankind in general. I was only willing to see weaknesses and tendencies to judge. In my mind, though, I had no other choice. The second I believed things would be OK and people would be accepting, I was sure someone would prove me wrong. I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to handle that.

Well, perhaps the Kent State campus is not an anomaly; maybe I would have received the same welcome at any campus. But I put Kent State on a pedestal. This campus’ acceptance has been essential to my recovery, both physical and mental.

And although the welcoming feeling and smiles have been a touching surprise, what has been most appreciated is Kent State’s indifference.

Kent, and I mean this in all seriousness, thank you for not caring.

What I mean is you don’t treat me any different. You don’t look at me with the pity I see in others’ eyes. You don’t care that I’m an amputee. And in your indifference, you help me feel normal.

That is the ultimate gift.

I wanted to write this because first, I needed to say it, but second, I hope it will inspire Kent State to further strive for the inclusiveness I have experienced firsthand.

We are always made aware of our bad behavior, but we are often underappreciated for the good we contribute as well. I hope by my statement of gratitude, Kent State students and faculty will realize the difference they made in my life and aspire to uphold that tradition.