Listen, we need to talk about commitment.

Listen, we need to talk about commitment.

Listen, we need to talk about commitment

I know, we’re all millennials—I mark “interested” on Facebook events so I’ll get a notification an hour before the event so I can decide then if I want to go—I get it. If something isn’t on my calendar, there’s a good chance that I’ll forget to do it (I’m working on that).

But some things are different. The planning and energy that go into appointments, events, and programs have a different investment than a Facebook event. When we flake out on programs we take away resources from others and tarnish relationships.

Take a hair appointment for example—if I don’t cancel my appointment 24 hours in advance, I’ll likely face a charge. Why? My stylist could have cut someone else’s hair during that time and I took her ability to earn income for that hour away. Seems fair there, right?

Let’s apply that to a coaching appointment—we’re booked about two weeks out for one-on-one coaching appointments (it’s AWESOME that people are taking advantage of this resource!). If you decide that you wanted to sleep in or do something else other than your appointment, you took that spot from another student.

How about an event? Say we’re offering an awesome event that is limited to a small number of students (most things aren’t free, but we’re able to cover the cost thanks to generous donors). You RSVP and without notice, miss the event. Denison invested money in you and another student, potentially on a waitlist, lost the ability to attend the event.

On the other hand—we bring many amazing employers and alumni back to campus. When you say you’re going to show up to something and don’t, that hurts our relationship with that individual or company, causing a domino effect of lost opportunities for you and your peers. Alumni are invested in Denison (they loved it here!) and often take time away from their jobs and families to give back to fellow Denisonians. When we choose to not honor our commitments, it doesn’t respect their gift of time and can hurt their relationship with Denison at large.  

That is why we have a no-show policy in the Knowlton Center. If you need to cancel an appointment, ideally 24-hours in advance, you can call the office and do so, no problem. If you decide to not take action and simply miss your appointment, we’ll record you as a no-show–the same applies to events for which you RSVP. After two no-shows, you lose your Handshake and other Knowlton Center privileges. What does this mean? You lose access to resources like internship stipends, jobs and internships with Denison connections and more (seriously, job prospects are the last place you’d want to burn bridges).

This isn’t a Denison thing—colleges across the country have the same complaint, so what has changed? Why has the meaning of an RSVP seemingly gone away? Are we busier? Maybe. Is it an issue of priorities? Probably (getting that right will take some practice). Is it that marking an RSVP online is so easy, that we sometimes forget? Possibly.

Here’s my challenge: show up.

Do what you say you’ll do when you said you would do it. If anything, it will make entering the real world a little easier. Show up with your best self, ready to learn and invest in yourself. You won’t regret it.

-Taby Arthur ’14