Words of Wisdom: Keep it Classy Saints

Breanne Tepler

The presidential election is just a few weeks away. The TV commercials are nonstop. If you don’t like to read about politics, you should probably shut down all social media accounts until after the election, and maybe even through to January. Chances are you would enjoy politics if it weren’t for the insults and rhetoric.

During the second presidential debate, the first question asked of the candidates was what they thought about the appropriateness of their behavior during the debates and the content of their comments. Did these candidates not realize that across the country, middle and high school students were instructed by their History, Civics and Government teachers to watch the debates and then write an essay? If they did realize that, did it impact what they said? What is their responsibility, if any, to keeping a level of professionalism during these debates and the election?

Here’s where my words of wisdom come in this week – keep it classy. Let’s talk about this from a few different scenarios. When you are presenting for a class or going to a job interview, my guess is that you keep things pretty formal and professional. You probably dress up a little bit, speak clearly and overall carry an air of professionalism. You’re probably not speaking poorly of others and you’re being considerate of those you’re talking to. That’s great – way to keep it classy, saints!

Let’s move on to another scenario. Let’s say you’re organizing an event for a club you’re involved in. You use the club’s email address, website, social media accounts and other media to promote the event. The words you say on those platforms represent that organization. There is a responsibility that comes with that, to have a level of professionalism that represents that club. Keep your own personal opinions, insults and rhetoric out of it. Keep it classy.

Now, let’s talk about a third scenario. Let’s say you’re extremely passionate about a cause. We’ll use the environment for this example. You’re hanging out in Storm’s Den eating lunch with fellow students and you watch someone put an aluminum pop can in the trash. You point out to your friends that someone just put a pop can in the trash and one of your friends says, “So what?” What do you do?

In this situation it can be hard to “keep it classy” because you’re emotional about what just happened. It may also be difficult because these are your friends so the audience is safer; they know you. You can probably get away with being a little more unprofessional in this setting. However, I will encourage you to speak up about how upset you are but keep it classy. Do you need to shout at or insult the person who didn’t recycle? No. You have control over how you react to every situation.

The ability to keep it classy is apparently no longer a critical characteristic of a political candidate. It’s sad to see because these debates, rallies and interviews are televised and put online for millions to see. This includes children.

Think before you speak, text, post and share. If this presidential election has taught us anything, it’s that insulting, interrupting and mistreating others doesn’t help move anyone forward. Keep it classy!

Breanne Tepler is an Admissions Counselor in the Office of Graduate & Extended Studies and a current student in the Master’s in Management program.