OPINION: Take time to improve your handshakes and your relationships

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Pierre-Toussaint is a first-year from
Brooklyn, New York.

DePauw students really suck at handshakes. Seriously, we do. This opinion seems lackluster to most readers but if you take a second to look a little deeper into it then you just might agree with me.

I am textually calling out every student on campus whose grip feels weak and lifeless. The students who forget to make eye contact and acknowledge someone. The students who make you feel like you don't exist even while physically touching you. These lifeless handshakes are a perfect representation of why the campus will consistently have issues between social groups and even with the residents of Greencastle.

As a community, we build weak bonds with each other and then complain when they don't work the way we expected them to. A community is a group of people that interact not only on a systematic level but also on an emotional level.

Our humility allows us to understand each other as we grow as individuals and as a social community. Bad handshakes play a major role in this. A limp grip can be treated as a lack of interest towards the other person. This followed by a lack of eye contact and verbal communication can quickly result in a poor introduction that absolutely no one wants.

DePauw, I challenge you to greet your peers the same way you would greet a respectable person who’s revered through out your social group. Keep eye contact with them and really let the existence of that person sink in. We need to open up our defensive social shields and connect to each other on a level deeper than our egos. However, if you meet a student from Wabash then the recommendations of this opinion does not apply.

A handshake can say a thousand words in a moment. It can build bridges just as quickly as it can burn them. Our small interactions as individuals allow us to strike nails of support into our connections and build relationships that are meaningful and important. Use the simplicity of a handshake to show your respect and appreciation for the community and the people around us.

DePauw deserves better than what we have given ourselves and by taking the correct actions to change our current situation we can. Here’s a tip, treat every handshake you commit to from this moment on like a job interview and I promise you will make the greatest impressions of your life.