The Student News Site of Trinity University


The Student News Site of Trinity University


The Student News Site of Trinity University


You don’t owe anyone anything … or wait, maybe you do

It has been a long week. A series of long weeks, actually. Exhausted, overwhelmed, fed up with everyone and everything, ready to snap at the next person who dared to ask me a question about something I thought they could figure out themselves. Like many Trinity students, I’ve recently been buckling under the weight of all of my responsibilities, and it was not making me a nice person. Then, as I was catching up with the new season of “Abbott Elementary,” I found myself surprisingly struck by the third episode.

If you need a brief synopsis, “Abbott Elementary” follows a group of dedicated teachers in an underfunded Philadelphia school doing their best with what they have. In this new season, one of the main teachers, Janine, takes the fellowship with the school district and sets about trying to bring real change through her position in the district.

In episode three, she wants to start small by getting a sign language interpreter for Abbott, but there is so much red tape in trying to complete that one simple task that she finds herself ready to give up. Eventually, she finds a creative way to get the district to hire the interpreter, making all the labor she put in worth it.

“It’s that last bit of effort that no one expects that tends to mean the most,” Janine says in a voiceover at the end of the episode. “We don’t get paid to care, but we do it anyway. We do it for our coworkers, our friends and we do it for the kids. We do it for ourselves, too, I guess — because much like Liam Neeson in ‘Taken’ one, two and three, we kinda can’t help it.”

After I finished the episode, I just sat with Janine’s words for a minute. It was something I needed to hear after a rough few weeks. My job has been feeling more like a burden than anything, as I’ve found myself having to answer questions, deal with crises and have difficult conversations with people at any time of the day half of the days out of each week on top of all of my regular editing responsibilities.

Basically, I found myself falling into a train of thinking that I’m not a big fan of: rolling my eyes back into my head, letting out a big sigh and exclaiming this is NOT my problem. Something I have to constantly remind myself of is that, while it may not be my problem, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a good thing for me to try to be part of the solution.

I’ve noticed that, around social media in particular, there’s this pervasive attitude that “You don’t owe anyone anything,” a sentiment that I very much disagree with. I don’t think this idea comes from a bad place — setting boundaries and not letting people walk all over you is a good thing — but when it goes so far as to say that you have no obligation to make others’ lives easier, that’s where I draw the line.

I’d argue that we do owe it to each other to make each other’s lives easier. That doesn’t mean you have to drop everything every time someone asks you for help, just that we ought to try to help each other when we can because we’d want others to do the same for us. And when we can’t offer help, we can offer grace, compassion and the promise to lend a hand when we can. There’s a balance we have to strike between setting boundaries and taking the space we need and lending help to others. It’s not always easy to find, but it’s always worth pursuing.

I’m glad that “Abbott Elementary” reminded me why I do any of this in the first place — because I really, embarrassingly care about the newspaper. I do it for my staff, for the community and for me. So if sometimes I need to put in that extra work of helping someone out with a problem they’re having (even if it’s inconvenient for me), I’ll do it.

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About the Contributor
Sarah Fisher
Sarah Fisher, Editor-in-Chief
Hello! My name is Sarah, and I'm a senior from Nashville, TN majoring in communication and Spanish with a minor in history. I've been with the Trinitonian since my first semester at Trinity, and I am so excited to serve as the Editor-in-Chief this year. In what little time I have outside of the newspaper, I'm the president of Trinity Mock Trial and a member of the film club.
I can't wait to see what our staff accomplishes this year and for everyone to see their work as well!

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  • A

    AngelleFeb 23, 2024 at 9:12 am

    Awesome editorial!! You are inspiring!!

  • J

    Julie Sara PersellinFeb 23, 2024 at 8:47 am

    I absolutely love this! What a wonderful reminder.