When I was awoken last Monday by a phone call at around 3 a.m., a million things started running through my head.

After punching in my password to get to my voicemail, the first words I heard were “Brandon — Vestal Police Department here.” I started thinking, “Oh shit, what did I do now?” and “How can I use my mom’s police connections to get out of this?” But the message continued, “We’re calling regarding the accident involving your Subaru Impreza at Hayes Community, please call us back when you get a chance.”

As I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on, I lifted my blinds. There it was — a roof on top of my car. Hayes Community has horse stable-esque covers for cars in the parking lot where students can park so they don’t have to brush the snow off in the morning.

The lone advantage of living at Hayes over University Plaza had now pancaked my car, apparently because it couldn’t support the two inches of snow on top. After I started shaking, I called my mom to tell her what happened. She responded calmly that the police had already called her to let her know what was happening.

I was asking how she can be so calm at the moment, when she reminded me that I was OK, the only thing damaged was the car. I’m convinced that her clichéd reaction would have been quite different had it been her new Lexus. I tried to explain to her, now that I have to start using public transportation regularly, the chances of me getting raped and pillaged are much greater than ever before.

But her words started to ring true. It is just a fixable car, and I was OK.

When I saw the flock of people running to the parking lot, all having nervous breakdowns at the sight of the flat pieces of metal that used to be their cars, it made me realize society has a whole lot of trouble putting things into perspective, including myself. They were just cars, and no one was hurt. We get upset and fixate on the most materialistic things — things that, when thought about rationally, don’t really mean much.

The next day I told most of my friends what had happened. Later in the afternoon, a friend dropped her gloves into the snow and became extremely distressed over the dirt on them.

“Wow, you must be having a really shitty day,” I said.

Realistically, the worst thing that could happen to any of us is to be diagnosed with a fatal illness or to lose someone we’re close to.

Working in my mom’s pharmacy at home reminds me how strangely aligned our interests are. For instance, some customers come in spending hundreds of dollars on hair products, but then fret over the extra $5 added onto their co-pay for their medication. People put a higher premium on their appearance and material goods than anything else.

With the amount of stress we experience as college students, we should never forget to put things in perspective. Everyone can relate to someone flipping out over a bad grade or acting like a breakup is the end of the world, but it’s really not. Life goes on. I hope this column helps you rationalize things, and at the very least, maybe my parents will read it and buy me a new car.