Written by Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of International Relations student, Erin Cronin, for Bond’s inaugural Kindness Week.
When you first start university, you might not think of kindness as a key skill you’ll develop over the next few years. It is a value thought to be learned long before you reach this stage, implemented in kindergarten and primary school, not in a classroom of young adults. For many, though, university provides the first opportunity to recognise how this core value is a transferable skill, and how it can make a difference not only to your tertiary education, but your life and career as you transition to a professional environment.
Kindness as a ‘soft’ skill
In a world where university qualifications are becoming more common – and the job market more competitive – graduates are having to go to new heights to stand out as employable. Whilst the development of practical skills is a critical part of this, so is the ability to demonstrate soft skills; those that are not limited to a profession or degree but can be transferred across a range of opportunities.
As a student at Bond, you’ll notice we have a strong focus on these. Whether embedded within a Core curriculum subject, Beyond Bond, or through involvement in clubs and extracurriculars, there is always the opportunity to engage in personal and professional growth.
Interpersonal skills, leadership, intercultural communication, conflict resolution, and responsible decision-making are all vital skills in a 21st-century workplace. The ongoing pandemic has only heightened the need for these transferable skills, as our understanding of the workplace has altered. When looking to these skills, however, it can be easy to ignore the role kindness plays in them.
Kindness at university
Oftentimes, when engaging in an activity, you are focused on the task at hand and in employing the practical and soft skills you need to finish the task – but kindness is embedded in many of these. When you’re communicating through a language barrier, you may be focusing on improving your interpersonal and cultural skills, but did you know that your patience and compassion in doing so is an act of kindness?
When you're having to make difficult decisions in a leadership role, the consideration you use can also reflect a kind-hearted nature. And when working on a team project, the conflict resolution and teamwork skills you focus on developing are likely underpinned by kindness in the form of helpfulness and respect. When immersed in a task, it can be easy to forgo thought on the specific skills and values you’re implementing and improving, but in taking the time to consider the value of these experiences, oftentimes they provide an important learning experience.
Kindness can be defined in many ways; compassion, generosity, friendliness, consideration, helpfulness…the list continues. With such a wide-ranging definition – and with everyone having a different understanding as to what kindness means to them – it may not always be obvious to recognise the importance of this value.
Kindness at Bond
At Bond, the opportunity to develop kindness – in the form of other soft and transferable skills – is not only recognised but encouraged. Whether you’re meeting new students through a society, engaging in group assessment, or chatting to Bondies located around the world, there’s always the opportunity for personal growth. This is only heightened when you involve yourself in part-time work, internships, extracurriculars, exchange, and other opportunities that provide the chance to develop.
Amid the busyness of study, assessments and assignments, it can be easy to discount these opportunities in favour of focusing on academics, however it is worth considering the role that kindness will continue to play after your time at Bond.
From the connections you form, experiences you undertake, and networks you involve yourself in, the kindness you show now will carry through with you as you enter the job market. This is a core focus of Bond - to make sure that in your time here you are supported in the opportunity to grow. This focus also continues after you graduate, and you become a member of the Bond Alumni family. From the opportunity to come back as a mentor, have the ongoing support of the uni, or from the closeness of the Bond community worldwide, kindness never stops being important.
During your time studying you may be focused on gaining your qualification, but remember that the opportunity to develop soft and transferable skills whilst at university is just as valuable as the practical skills you develop in the classroom; they are inextricably linked and equally important. Kindness can manifest itself in many forms, and oftentimes you may not realise that the skills you are employing are underpinned by a common value. Every experience you have at Bond provides the opportunity to develop, and whilst you might not have considered that kindness would be important, it is one of the most essential parts of your university experience.
Kindness Week at Bond
Bond’s inaugural Kindness Week is running from 25 – 29 October, 2021, celebrating how kindness can improve our lives as well as recognising those within our community who have made a difference through simple acts of kindness.