After much consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that there must be some germ floating through the air that’s infecting college students nationwide.

Now what is this virus that’s wreaking havoc on 20-somethings nationwide? I can sum it up in one word: selfishness.

Yup, I said it. Selfishness is sweeping college students across the nation, collecting victims every second. Unfortunately, these disease-stricken people can pop up anywhere – they could be a roommate, a best friend or even a lab partner – and there is not much the rest of us can do about it.

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Here are some things to consider to make sure you don’t turn into one of these mindless, egotistical zombies:

1. Are you treating others how you want to be treated?

Karma exists whether you believe in it or not. If you consistently pour negative energy out into the world, it will eventually come back around and slap you right between the eyes. Use your conscience and think before you act. Is what you’re about to do going to hurt someone’s feelings? Would it hurt your feelings if someone did it to you? Use your moral compass, and you will make a positive impact.

2. Are you considerate of others’ property?

Do you return things in the same condition that you borrowed them? And, even more importantly, do you ask before borrowing things? Nothing is more irritating than loaning something out to a friend and never getting  it back or finding it’s damaged without receiving an apology. You wouldn’t want anyone ruining your stuff, so why would you do that to someone else?

3. Who do you think of when you make decisions?

Yes, you are ultimately the person who has the most to gain or lose when you make a decision, but do you take a chance to analyze who your decision will affect as well? While blasting Fergie on your speakers may help you study better, will it help your roommate sleep? I don’t think so. Each and every one of your decisions affects the people around you – so while you must look out for yourself first when you make a decision, you also have to consider how it will affect everyone else.

4. Do you carry your weight in relationships?

Relationships, no matter what type, are a two-way street. It is not fair for one person to have to put in all the effort while the other person gets to sit back and do nothing. Each person needs to participate equally, or both people will become frustrated. If you realize you are the one overcompensating in a relationship, consider talking with the other person about it, or maybe even reconsidering the relationship all together.

5. How often do you help others?

Think about how many times a week you go out of your way to do something nice for someone else. If you can’t think of the last time you’ve done this, then we have a problem. Showing appreciation is not hard or expensive. All it takes is sparing the extra two seconds to draft a text message to cheer on a friend for his/her job interview or spending the extra $2 to buy a friend a caffeinated beverage after he/she has been cramming in the library for hours. Aim to do one nice thing a day, and you’ll be amazed by how much you can improve the world around you.

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