GOOD GRIEF: ‘Nova motto should mean something

Matilda Swartz


Humans are social creatures. 

It’s an assumption drilled into our impressionable minds in introduction to sociology classes and upward. 

Homo sapiens thrives on physical and emotional connections with others of their kind. 

The Stall Street Journal reminds us of the importance of interpersonal bonds: March’s issue bore the inspirational Epicurus quote, “We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.” Despite this universal notion, human beings show an astounding tendency to be downright terrible to each other. 

 On a grand scale, the examples are obvious. Throughout history people have killed each other over resources or territory; innocent lives have been lost because they were not blonde- haired and blue-eyed or they were in the wrong place at the worst possible time. None of these circumstances are era-specific. People still walk onto a subway during metropolitan rush hour equipped with enough dynamite to make CNN, Fox and MSNBC headlines simultaneously.  

Within the boundaries of race, religion and political affiliation, individuals find grounds for justification of interpersonal maltreatment. What are Villanovans’ excuses? For a collective which inhales and exhales by the “Unitas, Veritas, Caritas” motto, not one of us Wildcats can attest to being pure. 

We lie, make promises we cannot keep, lackadaisically forget to return an e-mail or choose to send a hasty e-mail rather than a thoughtful phone call to begin with. Lately I’ve encountered minor instances of peer abuse, the build-up of which has left me hopeless.

Unitas: As a united campus we pledge to depend on one another in times of academic and social need. For the past semester and a half, I have been an on-campus tutor. Due to the infrequency of appointments, one may guess this is not something I have taken on for steady income. 

Tutees come to me when they need help, and I make myself as available as possible. Forgive my frustration, then, when I receive a 5:55 e-mail before a 6:00 appointment that reads: “I cannot meet. I have a game at 6:00, and my dad is coming to surprise me and take me out to dinner.” The rejection doesn’t sting too badly until 15 minutes later, when I see said tutee in the dining hall, no parent or athletic gear in sight. Equally disheartening is when, after a series of e-mail volleys finally resulting in a set meeting, the tutee cancels “since it’s going to rain all day.”

Veritas: This fraction of the seal contradicts another organic human quality. As esteemed playwright David Mamet said, “Deceit is a basic human condition.” Consequently, I refuse to accept the wholesome goodness of this campus’s population. 

Exhibit A: the “frat files” – urban legend or every hard-working student’s nightmare? 

Even if they are merely Greek mythology, it is spine-numbing to think that along with chest-emblazoned sweatshirts comes a semester’s supply of previously taken tests or ‘B+’ essays. 

Exhibit B: politics. During the recent SGA elections, I maintained my skepticism. While deliberating over where my loyalty would lie, I recalled last year’s election and promises made by the victors. There were hopes of a ‘Nova-Septa marriage, said to result in what would have been an appreciated student fare, and dreams of pre-registration syllabi posted on Novasis for viewing pleasure. 

These promises were remade on the president-elect’s platform.

Caritas: As Lancaster Avenue inhabitants, we are expected to display boundless love for ourselves and each other. Heart matters are invaluable here, where certain Tolentine trees are designated for love-related activities and incoming freshman are warned to “pick a date before a mate” if they have any desire of an on-campus wedding. There are dwellers at one end of the spectrum who engage in public canoodling, which is known to escalate in dining halls, to our digestion’s dismay. The other extremists, the loveless, can be overheard on the steps of Bartley: “I should’ve cheated on [her] when I had the chance,” or in Connelly: “She’s not the type of girl you have a real relationship with.” 

I’ve seen Wildcats stripped of their pride after rejected announcements of their true feelings, aborted formal invites and that sting of seeing the object of your lust marked by another. 

We should be more considerate, by way of honesty, chivalry and hiding our necks when they have acquired something you’d rather not make public.  

Such consideration worries me. If a body of upstanding students at an upstanding institution is capable of unnecessary rudeness, what can we expect outside of these halls? 

To avoid a future of cancelled appointments, deception and doomed romances, the least we could do is mimic a Villanovan who gets it Wright. 

Like Jay, we should strive always to return e-mails and flash a smile, win, lose or rain. 


Matilda Swartz is a sophomore communication major from Highland Park, Ill. She can be reached at [email protected].