Bullying and harassment should not be justified behind the wheel

September 05, 2016

Anne Stewart

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     It was only three years ago, but it is still one of my most vivid memories at UCCS.

     Trying to find a parking spot in Lot 576, (formerly known as the Four Diamonds lot) just before hopping on the shuttle to campus, I had the same goal as everyone else.

     The parking lot was painfully full, and it didn’t look like it would change anytime soon.

     But that changed when I saw a woman walking to her car.

     I asked if I could have her parking spot and she said yes. With that, I was set.

     I waited behind her spot, close enough so that others knew to go around my car, and the young woman pulled out and drove away.

     Another car driving from the opposite direction decided they were going to go for it. She knew I’d already staked my claim; she just didn’t care.

     I pulled into the spot and so did she. We were at an impasse. She wouldn’t move at all and even though I could have matched her all day I had to get to class. I backed out and gave way, furious.

     But I knew that acting out in frustration would have only made the problem worse.

     During their time at UCCS, students hope to receive a well-rounded education. Compass Curriculum provides an educational guideline at UCCS, which helps students fulfill requirements in subjects pertaining to global awareness, inclusiveness and diversity.

     With the resources on campus for students to become aware of how they are relating to one another, it would seem that positive change truly is within reach.

     Why then do all of these ideals fall away as soon as we sit in the driver’s seat?

     We all know what it feels like to drive around campus. Everyone has 1 million places to go and 2 million things to do.

     With the ever-increasing problem of too-little parking, blood boils a little faster. Tempers tick at a pace too quick, and before you know it, middle-fingers are flying everywhere and disrespectful slurs are slung.

     If there is one thing I have learned in my time at UCCS, it is that communication is irreversible.

     It is my belief that small acts of hate and disrespect are just stepping stones toward bigger ones, and for me, it’s just not worth it.

     Driving is frustrating, but there are ways to keep our cool when getting from point A to point B.

     Remember to take deep breaths. More oxygen in a confined space can help keep level heads.

     Count to five. You won’t be in an annoying situation for too long on the road. Paths will cross and split, and soon, the complete stranger in the other car will be on their own way.

     Finally, remember that courtesy goes a long way. Let a person over into your lane with graciousness. Chances are, they aren’t coming over to make you mad. They are just trying to get from point A to point B, just like you.

     If someone does start a heated driving battle, realize that he or she has their own set of daily stresses. It isn’t about you, and for that reason, you shouldn’t let it ruin your day.

     When we get behind the wheel, it is important to remember that we are still all part of society. All stories, all journeys, are important. And even though they say that sticks and stones are what hurt the most, we should remember that words and actions have power.