More thoughts from the head of a student:
People just don’t care. I don’t know if they ever really have.
You’re running an event? Leave me alone.
You’re trying to raise awareness for something? Screw off.
You’re doing, writing, making, drawing, building, saying something that will take more than three seconds to comprehend and form an opinion of? Fuck you.
It’s disheartening to that section of the population that does care. The portion that seems to grow in numbers as each generation gets older.
As a student, having not reached that margin of maturity where my generation pulls its collective head out of its ass, and living on campus, seeing all of the things the school offers as events for interest or fun; I have to say that I am highly disappointed in my peers. Even my high-school had more morale than this. This center of higher education, the place designed to breed bigger thoughts, caress knowledge, and encourage fully functioning and intelligent members of society has a problem.
Universities claim to house the cream of the crop, the apple of the respective province’s eye, but that’s a front. You’ll hear people complain about tuition, you’ll hear complaints about hard courses, or foreign professors, but the biggest problem with University today is none of those things.
It’s a short word. It’s breathy to say, doesn’t shake the ground, it’s unimposing, you wouldn’t want to yell it, and therefore you don’t care for, or about, it.
Apathy is a terrible problem at school. We’ve moved past the free education stage in our lives. We are dishing out tens of thousands of dollars to learn. However, learning doesn’t just involve school. I mean, obviously that’s a huge part of it, but nothing is ever THAT black and white.
Every school, (and I’m speaking about what I know, which is pretty much just Ontario) has a wide swathe of programs and events run throughout the year. Most of the events are funded by our tuition. There are hundreds of clubs and the potential to start new ones at the drop of a hat. Chances to meet people, grow leadership skills, learn to work, learn to live, acquire jobs, and just generally be an active human being, are all provided by the school. But…
No one does anything. (Again, it’s not “no one”, but from my outlook it appears to be a majority.)
My outlook: I’m a first year student. I spent my first semester being one of “those” people. I didn’t do anything, but I felt lost there. Partying and staying within one small collective of people has its benefits, but I could see there was so much more. Walking around the campus is enthralling. It is constantly a beehive of activity, and it’s available to anyone with a student card. I got small pangs of guilt walking past things and ignoring the emails I received, but it didn’t really enter my consciousness until second semester.
I got involved in residence government. Not officially, but enough so that I had perspective. I got to assist in the running of things, the participation of which was terrible. I joined a few other clubs. Tiny groups with a core of members and no one else. I have watched. I have judged. I have learned.
Have my peers?
It is obviously arguable that being in first year does not necessitate involvement. Being in residence doesn’t mean you love it, and being at school does not require you to do any more than pass. Looking at it objectively however, that’s not a good excuse. You don’t have to be outgoing to be involved in things; you don’t have to love the school to know what’s going on. You just have to care.
The lack of caring, the apathy, could be due to the fact that so many kids have had an easy ride through life. Their parents paid for them to be here, and they’re simply along for the ride. The external, future benefits escape them. OR it could be because so many people feel uncomfortable in front of other people. I know I do sometimes, but fear, or lax attitudes, are no reason to remain apathetic.
Apathy, I say, is also the parent to procrastination. Which, as anyone who casually browses Buzzfeed will
know, is a thing students love to embrace.
(Here is the Buzzfeed page that comes up when you type “procrastination”: http://www.buzzfeed.com/search?q=procrastination )
I mention procrastination because it’s something that has run amok among us. Not doing assignments, not doing our jobs, not meeting people on time. The more you get used to procrastination, the more you don’t care. The more apathetic you become.
So… what am I saying? I am saying that apathy is a problem. Apathy will ALWAYS be a problem, but there are ways to fight it. It takes effort, it takes leadership, and it takes a damn bit amount of time. I say if that time is there and it can draw people out, if it can change someone from a closeted, uncaring, bored figure into someone who has an opinion or an idea and wants to put it out there, then take that time.
If you read this and you know that you go home at night and watch TV, or movies, when you could be going out, joining a club, doing something fun, meeting people, or any other number of things, take this opportunity to change. More than that, develop an opinion, mold it, make yourself you, and start caring.
My stance right now follows a neat slogan I saw tattooed on the lead singer of a band. “Fight Apathy”. Two little words. I saw the tat two years ago and I hated it. I thought “Why would he get that on his body?” I disliked it because I had been openly embracing apathy. I’ve changed, but it took two years. Get those seeds planted.
Be yourself, be active, and be present.