A Stinky Situation

January 17, 2022

So apparently - one of the pantry rooms in our buildings has a funky smell.

Louis Tay

Some equated the smell to a dead rat. I have not smelled a dead rat before, but I presume it’s of a noxious variety.

Accordingly, one of our faculty colleagues emailed everyone to remind us of the need to remove any food – maybe even pre-pandemic food – from the refrigerator. Another faculty colleague volunteered to clean up the fridge over the weekend. And still, another faculty member brought cleaning supplies to start the clean-up process. We discussed ways we could all chip in.

This incident reminds me of why I love my department.

It also reminds me of the limitations of only pursuing personal well-being – particularly in a “stinky situation” and where there is a diffusion of responsibility. In the pursuit of community well-being, we often have to be mindful of others’ needs and step up to help. It can often feel like the last thing we want to do, but we all can contribute.

I personally learned three ways of helping in this life lesson.

  1. Let others know of the need: Often, we may not be the only one who sees a need, but letting others know is a great start.
  2. Volunteer time: Stepping up may require taking on the direct responsibility of doing the work to address the need. Recruiting others to help alongside can lessen the burden.
  3. Share resources: Even if your time may be scarce, bringing in other resources can improve a situation.

This week, I encourage us all to think about not only ourselves but also the needs of others around us. How can you help solve a stinky situation?

Be well,

Louis Tay

Tay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. He has expertise in well-being, assessments, and data science. Be sure to check back each week for another wellness tip of the week! 

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