Melissa Flamand's Words of Wisdom

Shared in the June 1, 2020 NAP weekly newsletter

Contributed by Melissa Flamand '20

If someone were to ask me what I've learned while being at Dartmouth, my first response wouldn't be about anything related to my major, nor would it be anything academic in nature. But if you ask me what the most important thing I have gained from my college experience is, I would have to say that there are many, but the overarching theme is compassion.

So what is compassion?

It is having good friends to look after you in your time(s) of need. It is having confidence in knowing that someone cares about you. It is loving someone without barriers. It is continuing to love them even when they have hurt you. It is being there for others when they need you, in whatever capacity you can be. It is committing to acts of selflessness. It is smiling more. It is laughing lots.

It is learning how to love those who do not love me, for I have learned that the weight of hatred on my heart does not serve me well, nor does it serve others well. There are many times I have chosen hate in the place of love and it does nothing but gnaw at my soul. Instead, I aim to replace the hatred with forgiveness. I aim to spread my love in as many ways as possible to a world that, at times, does not love me back. I want to be kind to those who are not kind.

I want you to know that I love and care for you, for the one true crime in this world is that we do not love each other enough. Even worse than that, we do not learn from our mistakes. The one thing I have learned while at this institution, that I am sure of, is that we do not grant forgiveness and we do not spread enough love. We must do better. We must be compassionate.