By Emma Buchman
Smoking is a personal choice. Like most things in life, it is not necessarily a bad thing when done in moderation, and each person has the right to choose whether or not this is a habit that they are willing to invest in.
However, unlike other potentially unhealthy habits like drinking or splurging for that German chocolate cake after dinner, smoking carries a much higher risk of dependency after only one use, and has an increased likelihood of causing terrible diseases like lung cancer. That is why smoking is a topic that the Washington College administration takes very seriously: they don’t want to parent anyone, but they also care deeply for the health of all students.
This is why the new rule of smoking at least 25-feet away from the building has been put in this year. It is the responsibility not only of the administration to enforce this rule, but also that of the RAs. And speaking personally as an RA, it is as much as a hassle for us as it is for you. While it may be an inconvenience to smoke 25-feet away from a building, it is a rule of the college. And truthfully, officials don’t want to enforce it any more than you want to follow it. There are bigger battles to fight and none of us want to jeopardize our relationships with other students simply because you’re not far enough away from the building.
That being said, we do care enough about student health and safety to become a college official, and as such we have to enforce this rule.
But a lot of times RAs don’t even want to redirect people for fear of starting an unnecessary confrontation. Some people are very amicable about following this rule, but every once in a while you get those people will do one of two things: try to argue with you or pretend to listen and then ignore you five minutes later. Believe me, it’s happened to me and to my fellow RAs. What many people seem to forget is that RAs are students too. While most of us love our jobs and are very focused on them, we also understand what it’s like to be students. We’re not trying to belittle you, because we would never want you to belittle us. Our main purpose is to do our jobs and protect the health of students who choose not to smoke.
Also, it is rather selfish to either directly or indirectly defy an RA. When you argue with us, you are either preventing us from helping other students who need us, or from doing our own thing. Yes, RAs have their own thing. We are not machines trying to ruin your good time, as strange as that sounds. And when you ignore us, you are escalating a silly little incident to a case of going against a college official. There are so many other things that you can being doing that are more considerate of both our time and yours. Why would anyone want to waste any time on such an easily solved problem?
This rule may seem unreasonable, but in the grand scope of things it is not that hard to follow. In all honesty, there are more non-smokers than smokers living and working on this campus. So respect your fellow students, RA, non-smoker or otherwise, and just smoke 25-feet away from the darn building.