After watching four presentations on the Slave Trade, I was caught up in the idea that humans take what they can at any expense. This thought was interrupted by learning that we raised £8 million for Cancer Research; it seems humans do not just take. After a very busy week involving double-breakfasts, 6am running sessions and copious amounts of work I was emotional and overwhelmed by life in general. This is not ideal and I apologize to those on the receiving end. At the REP awards this week, I found myself presenting an award, despite my persistent inability to speak real words to the public. Nerves tend to make me sound like a rainforest animal, and I was relieved to be announced by the wrong name due to standing in for somebody else. Thank god I remain anonymous. It was nice to give something back to a system that provided me with many opportunities. How important is reciprocity, and do we take too much?
In our time-consuming-consumer society, we are very quick to acknowledge what we deserve; our rights and our freedoms. This is a positive aspect of the western way as it protects individuals from collectives. Have we taken it too far? Do we have the right to an easy life? If I had a penny for every complaint I listen to about what we deserve as individuals, well yeah you know: I’d have a limousine all the way to NYC. People sometimes question why I take on many opportunities at once, and the honest answer is that I like to be busy. This is a selfish reason to give my time and energy to several entities but that is beside the point, as I choose entities that I want to give to. This is a good example of reciprocity as I receive as much opportunity and reward in substitute for genuinely-motivated time and energy. I often question whether we lose purpose in western society; what are we partying for? A good work ethic is important as a reciprocal relationship with life is ultimate. Learning psychology made me an advocate of reward; I try not to take much more than I give. Growing up, we learn how to behave based on how we are treated in response to behavior we exhibit; if learning is based on reward then can we train ourselves in reciprocity?
Although humans are naturally selfish to a certain extent, we can practice reciprocity by balancing give and take. Learning to do this will have a positive impact on friendships, relationships and workloads alike. I experienced first-hand the underrated notion that humans do give selflessly as I received over 80 sponsors towards a scholarship competition. I will have to write a lot of books in dedication to these fabulous individuals. I am not joking about this, trust me. After finding my long-lost shoes in the back of my wardrobe and an exquisite review by Wollstonecraft for my dissertation, I realized that life has been kind to me this week. Next week, I will be attacking my research project for a local museum, and 23 scholarship applications. New news concerning New York is that they have the world’s first Cupcake ATM. When can we start paying each other in cupcakes?
The importance of reciprocity is just one of life’s lessons I have explored at university. Here are other lessons that university teaches us, by my hilarious friend. Check out her amazing blog: