I constantly get lost.
This is evident by the gift my mom gave me once — a Magellan Navigation system for my car. It was one of the happiest days of my directionally challenged life.
Anywhere outside my hometown, I’ve consistently gotten lost. One time, while I was living in DC, I had to look up directions on how to get to Farragut West Station (Orange Line) to Farragut North Station (Red Line) — they were on opposite sides of the courtyard. I had no GPS at the time, so I drew the directions on a piece of paper. Again, one was catty-corner to the other. (headtodesk)
I’ve gotten lost while running and I keep telling myself to stick with the map I made, but no, I always have to go explore paths and trails. Which then leads to getting lost. ( I will never learn)
This past weekend, I was running down one of the main streets on IU’s campus: 3rd Street. There were a lot of people out that day, milling about and exploring campus. As I was nearing an intersection, I came upon two international students looking at a map. As I was waiting for the light to change, I noticed that they looked panicked and lost. They looked confused by the paper map in their hands. I put my GPS on pause and helped them out — trying to figure out what they wanted and where they wanted to go. They were about a block away from their destination, but the relief on their faces was awesome. I took off in one direction and they took off in the other.
How many times have you stopped to ask people if they need help finding their way? With new students and families coming to campus within the next month, people will be lost. How many times have you walked past people using a map, looking confused? I always take it upon myself to help people try to find their way, as I know getting lost in a new place is frustrating and challenging. The conversations that happen from asking a simple question “Can I help you find a place” can vary from the simple “no thank you” to the very long “I’m going here and I need to do X, what can you tell me about this”. It’s a great way to get to know people who come to your campus.
As a representative of your department and university, it should be the expectation that we help others — helping people find their way is no exception. You never know where a simple ” do you need help finding a place” might get you. Try it out on the first day of classes and meet some students who might need help finding their class. It’s just another way to go above and beyond the call of duty.