Have you ever noticed how nearly every college student has a plant in their room? As if caring for a flower or vegetable fills that empty void that comes with moving away from home. Succulents are the adult alternative to Nintendogs and Tamagotchis. It is simple to hop on this plant ‘trend’ too; a quick trip to Home Depot and, suddenly, you are cactus royalty.
There is another side to this college plant craze that isn’t as fun to think about, though. Scrolling mindlessly on the internet, one day I came across the article, “Plants Even College Students Can’t Kill.” The assumption that most college students kill their plants is a serious issue. Acknowledging that every person and situation is different, it is common for students to buy a plant purely for aesthetic purposes — as if posting a picture of their plant in the sunlight proves to the world that they are in tune with the natural world. Owning a plant for the purpose of boosting one’s image is the reason why articles are titled “Plants Even College Students Can’t Kill.”
This is not to say that no one who is in college or remotely ‘busy’ is not allowed to own a plant. Sometimes these things can seriously help your own productivity and your ability to think beyond yourself and consider others.
A plant is a living, breathing organism that requires help to make sure it lives a healthy life cycle. The minute a plant is purchased or planted or put into one’s room, that is a commitment. There is an unspoken agreement with the organism that you are going to care for it, even though you will surely be busy at times. Taking care of a plant goes beyond watering it every now and then — it requires constant check-ins and cleanings. Even if you aren’t the most knowledgeable on how certain plants live, there are plenty of students on campus that would be more than willing to help you care for the organism. The Gardening Club especially is full of students whose passions for green life extend beyond the garden plot. Take advantage of every resource you have available to keep your friend well-fed and considered.
If you decide to seriously take a plant under your wing, make sure you aren’t just in it for the ‘eco-clout.’ Plants are beautiful, living, breathing beings that deserve all the love and care and attention that you are able to give them. And if you do it right, you will realize how humbling it is to actually care for a plant and watch it go through its own process of life. Eventually you too will be able to live and bloom alongside the small seed.
Ellie Moonan is a Confusion Corner columnist who wants your plants to blossom.