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Thursday, September 30, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 28

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Lay off would ya? I'm doing my job!

By Margaret Mitchell

Today is Sept. 30, 1999 -- the last day of this month. And it's been one hell of a month.

I've got a calendar full of ink indicating the things that I've done this month. But the one thing missing from the calendar is all the hell I have managed to raise in these past 30 days. It seems as if all I have done is ticked off someone somewhere.

My opinions on women's lib have been reviled, my self-esteem has been questioned, my verbal abilities have been slandered and my parody of a certain classroom-related situation has been labeled despicable.

But lest you think this month's streak of hell-raising has been limited to this fine institution of higher learning: I've tangled with an old friend over deed restrictions and battled with the customer service manager of a major airline.

I've also made a very determined and heated demand to a supervisor of Animal Control that they get someone out to my neighborhood and pick up the pack of roaming dogs now before they go after any more kids (even HPD was involved in this).

Am I a hell-raiser for the fun of it? No. Is raising hell the best way to solve things? No.

But let's face it, there are times when people don't see that there is a problem no matter how subtle or up front you are about it.

You try to be nice about it. You try to be constructive in your approach.

Instead, you get nowhere, or worse you hit the wall of hostile inactivity of "we'll make a note of it in our computer." You then have two choices: leave it alone or get nasty about it.

Last time I looked, I didn't have "Welcome" stamped across my back.

When I've had enough, I've had enough. And like everyone else in the world, I handle some situations better than others.

I will say this, though, about the last month: It has been a tremendous growing experience.

I remember the first time I got nasty e-mail about something I had written, and it really hurt me.

Now when I read it, I think about what it has to say, but I don't take it personally or let it get to me.

The beauty of a university is that it is one of the last forums for free exchanges of ideas (I learned that in Sociology).

Besides classmates, who else could you or would you talk about issues with? I mean really talk about issues. You know, "unmentionables" like religion, politics, money and social issues.

Would you broach those touchy subjects with your co-workers? Or your basketball buddies, or your best girlfriends or your significant other? Would you be willing to voice your opinions knowing others do not agree with you?

In the outside world, you can hash it out with others over differing perspectives and either end up never speaking to that person again or agreeing to disagree as long as you never bring up the subject again.

At a university, you can bring up a subject, debate it openly and almost always walk away knowing that this is not the end but only a beginning -- even if at the time you walk away angry and disgusted.

It is only through challenges to your perspective that you can really and truly grow.

As I said, it's Sept. 30, the last day of the month. I've done a lot of hell-raising and a lot of growing this month.

So before I shoot my mouth off any more, I am going to follow the advice of a very old saying: When the going gets tough, the tough get going -- on vacation, to see the fall foliage in Maine.

Then I'll come back next month and shoot my mouth off a little wiser.


 
Mitchell, a junior political science major,
can be reached at smeggie37@csi.com.
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