CAMPUS LIFE Victor the beaver's guide to the interwebs

Six Creative Ways to “Pay It Forward”

Sep 17 2012 at 2:47 pm by

Working together - people holding handsI think it goes without saying that college is about learning. Correct? Good. Now that we got that out of the way….

Of course, learning should encompass not only your basic calculus equation, but also a bit of moral learning.

Let Me Be Bluntly Frank Here: Learning to Do the Right Thing!

Yes, in college, this is important – believe it or not. We go to college not only to learn how to make the most money, but also how to make the most out of friendships, love, and life. That ultimately revolves around how we treat people.

Diversity. Impartiality. Understanding. Compassion. I have to say – if it was possible to have college classes on these things, we’d be even better off than we are now!

Thankfully, though, that’s why we’re here to show you some of the best ways to pay it forward.

What does that mean? Well, think about it! When someone loans you something, what do you do? You pay them back.

What this is all about is the other way around: instead, you’ll be paying people forward. Instead of returning the favor to the one helping you, you return the favor to someone else.

This is the cornerstone of true morality.

What if everyone just kept paying everything forward? You’d think that eventually everyone gets a piece of that compassion, that diversity, impartiality, understanding, all of it. You pay someone back, it just stays between two people – but you pay it forward, that act of kindness is passed on to a third person, and then a fourth person, and so on and so forth.

There can’t be anything better! If you learn anything in college, it’s definitely this: paying forward advances humanity.

And here are six ways to do it!

Paying the Toll and Then Some

In its most basic understanding, paying it forward generally means doing something charitable for someone you don’t know – not a friend or relative – or it could be doing something charitable for anyone without them knowing it (or knowing who did it).

Toll Booth

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It’s typically anonymous.

So picture a toll booth. Maybe you’re a college student on a road trip, and you have to make it through one of those manned booths charging a dollar or two for the toll. Luckily, you actually have a healthy amount of cash on you, by chance (which is huge given you’re a lowly college student!) –

So you know what you do?

You not only pay your toll, but the toll for the person behind you!

It’s a great feeling to look behind and see the car pull up only to be refused by the toll collector. Of course, the toll collector will tell the person you paid – and it’ll baffle them to no end!

You’ll be laughing, because not only did you go outside the box by doing that, you did something wonderful for someone you didn’t even see, someone you’ve never seen, and probably will never see.

Makes you feel good, doesn’t it?

Hop on the Bus!

Watch people look at you really funny when you show up at the popular bus station or bus stop with a bunch of bus tokens or passes you’ve bought with your budgeted money.

This can get pricey, but let’s just say you came into an inheritance, and you don’t have a whole lot of room in your dorm to really splurge, there’s no better feeling than spending your time using up that money to help people get from A to B.

Buy as many bus tokens or passes as you can! Then stand there right at the station or stop handing them all out to the many confused folk, telling them that the ride’s on you. They, of course, will look at you very strangely – but then won’t have any reason to think you’re scamming them when they see the passes or tokens are quite legit.

They’ll wonder why. They may tilt their heads. They make think you’re mentally unstable. But in the end, all you’ll hear from them is the words: thank you.

And that makes all the difference.

I’d Like a Big Mac With Fries, and a Quarter Pounder With Cheese

Drive Through Window

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This one’s even more fun. Because no one would expect this at all .

No one could even conceive of someone paying for someone else’s order at a drive-thru! Consciously, it just doesn’t seem possible. You wait in line for a Whopper, you expect to think only of that Whopper, not the person behind you. It’s food. It’s sustenance. You simply don’t think about anybody else!

That’s why it’s such a phenomenal idea: pay for someone’s order behind you, and you never see that person again. Ever.

You give the person at the window just enough money to cover not only your purchase, but the purchase behind you. And the great thing is the person at the window wouldn’t even question it.

Then the person behind you pulls up, expecting to pay, only to get the food and a downright refusal of the money – because it’s already been paid for. And then the person blinks, stymied, struck, shocked.

It’s already paid? Yes. Would you like some ketchup packets to go with it?

Baby Food and Diapers Go a Long Way….

Teddy BearHere’s some basic wisdom for you: out of all the necessities anyone would need to buy at a grocery store, two items stand out to be the most important. Diapers and baby food. You’ll find that statistically those are the two items carrying the most demand at food pantries.

So you know what you can do? Go to the grocery store, purchase as much baby food and diapers as your budget allows and simply drop them off at the food bank collection bin typically found right by the customer service desk. If there is no such bin, simply go to any free pantry out there, any church with a pantry, and drop them off. There’s nothing to sign, no name to fill out. It’s completely anonymous.

You won’t even to see who ends up getting the merchandise you bought. It’s true, unadulterated paying it forward to the extreme.

Appreciating the Unappreciated

The doorman. The receptionist. The busboy. The bouncer. The garbage man. The copier. The janitor. The truck driver.

There are many more. These are people who typically don’t get to hear these simply words when they work: “job well done.” They are the unsung heroes of our economy.

And, yet, they all but unnoticed, they don’t receive any recognition. They simply do their work.

So go ahead and buy some flowers or chocolates or balloons or anything from one of those party stores! Have whatever you purchased delivered to the receptionist, doorman, or mail clerk. Leave it anonymous. Simply say the words: “job well done.”

It would be like the angels singing “alleluia” in echoes only Heaven can contain.

Just Say “Here!”

I don’t want to sound preachy or over-emotional about this, but let’s face it: it’s a tough world out there. While you’re in college getting that quality education, there are thousands of people out there suffering from a down economy, lost jobs, no food, no clothing, no home.

homeless man

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Yes, I understand – why bother, right? They’re homeless. They got themselves into that mess. But I implore you – it doesn’t matter what the situation was. Sometimes bad things can happen, and they’re left to pick up the pieces….

So help them pick up those pieces. Who knows if you may end up with the same kind of hardship. Maybe you lost your home in a fire. Maybe you were laid off from a job and benefits aren’t cutting it. It really is a tough life, and it can happen to the best of people.

Go to a drugstore. Buy stocks and stocks of some of those disposable toothbrushes, toothpaste, cough drops, Kleenex packets, granola bars, chocolates, toilet paper, 50 cent juices, bottles of water, blankets. Believe it or not: you can stock up on quite a bit of those disposables for a decent amount of money.

Get Ziploc bags and make as many “toiletry kits” as you can. Head over to a spot where the homeless congregate often and hand those kits out. You don’t have to say anything. You don’t have to do anything else.

I don’t even have to explain the looks on their faces or the feelings rushing through them as they see someone do something no one has done before in a very long time….

That What Makes It Special….

While paying it forward once a day may seem seldom, it actually – from another perspective – can change the world.

You can change the world one random act of kindness at a time. Pay it forward.

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