The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

VIEWPOINT – Hey, you in the hallway, stop avoiding eye contact with me

Tabitha redder/managing editor

I am surprised that the view of the tops of heads I’ve seen has dramatically increased since I’ve been in college.

My height is not staggering, so one might wonder if years of wishing for a final growth spurt paid off and I grew half a foot overnight. But, that is not the case. 

I see the tops of heads because everyone’s eyes are glued to their phones as they walk through the hallway.

How can they be so sure of their surroundings? Walls, children, table corners, tardy students sprinting across campus attempting to enter class only five minutes late instead of 10 are all potential hazards to phone-using wanderers.

I won’t assume they are looking at their phone for the sole reason of avoiding eye contact as they pass by. When leaving a class where an instructor is adamant about maintaining an 18th century electronic-free atmosphere, I too want to check Twitter as soon as I pass over the threshold back into the technological age.

However, when people have obviously exhausted their phone’s entertainment — they have checked Twitter, they have responded to the group texts, they answered their mom’s stupid question about some trivial task and then passed me in the hallway, ready to smile politely — they still look down just as they get into eye range.

The carpet pattern is truly inspiring, isn’t it? They just have to examine the laces on their shoes that instant. Is that a bug? What kind? A water bug? A stag beetle? They’ve become entomologists.

Or sometimes, passersby don’t look down. Their gaze veers sideways as they begin to intently examine the wall, as if they just discovered the most impressive piece of artwork of the decade. They need to tell everyone! They are suddenly fine art connoisseurs! Is this the Van Gogh of Texas community colleges? Oh, it’s actually just a painted brick wall in a dimly lit hallway.

But by far, the worst scenario is when a person approaching a passerby, be it student or faculty, turns around as if someone chased them out of their last class shouting, “You forgot your pen!” but no one is actually there. They feign stimuli behind them purely to avoid eye contact.

Maybe this is a personal grievance. Maybe most students are content doing this strange, averting eyes dance of acknowledgement refusal. It could be the newest underground trend.

Is this silent rejection inevitable during daily walks on campus? Maybe shoelaces do hold life secrets. And bugs are pretty cool.

Those brave, courageous souls who maintain eye contact, maybe even offer a feeble smile, the one time someone even wished me a good morning — just know, in the vast sea of averted eyes on campus, you give hope to the world.

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