Practicing Kindness During COVID-19

There are a lot of uncertainties in the world right now. Hugs have become weapons and staying away from friends & family has become an act of love. This unprecedented time requires unprecedented kindness. A few of my Miami peers have really inspired me lately with their efforts to fill the world around them with some much needed positivity. Here is what they have been up to:

Maddie Zimpfer

Maddie is a rising senior at Miami and one of the coolest people I have ever met. She is all over the place on campus, involved with MUF&D, UP Magazine, Advancing Women in Entrepreneurship, and a part of Gamma Phi Beta. Maddie also has her own brand, blog, and sustainable clothing business. “This is Blooming” is Maddie’s passion project with the tagline, “You are growing all the while.” So fitting for the current state of our world, right? Maddie has a passion for creating narratives that encourage others through words. I got to sit down with her recently (via Facetime – social distancing!) and ask her a few questions. One part of our exchange really stuck out to me. When I asked, “So, why blooming?” she said:

“I have learned that in life, we are continually becoming. Life is about this process. It’s about growth. It’s changing. It’s stretching. It’s moving. It’s progressing. It’s failing. It’s overcoming. That’s a beautiful thing. And we forget that.”

Since being back home, Maddie has been able to spend more time nurturing her brand and spreading encouragement. It inspires me and many others. Check her out on Instagram (@thisisblooming) or on her blog.

Landon Woodard

Landon is a rising junior at Miami and very creatively-driven. He is an undergrad assistant for the business core course, ESP 103, on exec for Miami Business Consulting, and part of Miami’s running club. Landon has inspired me lately with his goal to start a nonprofit to give a voice to brave workers within the healthcare industry. Still fleshing out the details, he shared with me the beginnings of his project. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to spend our time at home. Spreading the positive narratives of caregivers to bring reassurance is important for everyone’s mental health right now. With this in mind, it really moved me when Landon said:

“Before now, I think we really overlooked what it meant to be kind. Kindness doesn’t have to be an elaborate, well-thought-out gesture. It’s waving to your neighbors on your daily walk. It’s putting a teddy bear in your window for the neighborhood kids to spot on their scavenger hunt. It’s buying a little less than you normally would, and learning to smile with your eyes rather than your mouth because wearing a protective mask helps others. Kindness today is reaching out to people, and creating an atmosphere that we’re not alone.”

I couldn’t agree more, and kind of want to get every word of that embroidered on a pillow to keep forever.

Lauren Speelman

Lauren is a highly ambitious rising sophomore. Recently, she leaned into her passion of writing and created a blog (@girlgonemild.blog on Instagram!) where she addresses topics that others may be uncomfortable thinking about. In her writing, Lauren also calls attention to her own imperfections, breaking down the stereotypes of perfectionism enhanced by social media. It has been inspiring to watch her blossom and become more confident in her writing space. What could be more proactive than pursuing a creative outlet during social distancing? It really struck me when Lauren said:

“To me kindness is taking just being nice to a whole other level, going out of your way to do something that benefits others. For instance, I am absolutely terrified of needles and giving blood honestly makes me want to cry, but I am a registered donor and I give any and every time I am eligible. Kindness can feel inconvenient and make you uncomfortable at times, but it’s never something you’ll regret.”

It’s times like these when I feel proud to be a Miami student. The people around me are channeling their time and energy to help others during uncertainty – something truly definitive about a RedHawk. Practice kindness while we are at home. Thank and appreciate others, and spread hope. 

Being a RedHawk has never felt more meaningful than now.

Kathryn Moir | Marketing & IMS