Read, listen, understand, take action

In the media, and in conversation, it is often easy to feel like we are surrounded by a choir of complaints, terror and devastation—bad news.

“A Burst of Gunfire, a Pause, Then Carnage in Las Vegas….,” The New York Times, Oct. 2.

“‘Apocalyptic’ devastation in Puerto Rico…,” CNN, Sept. 26.

“Budget woes lead to two staff layoffs,” The Defender, Sept. 19.

We all amplify bad news regardless of how big or small. People always seem to find something to be dramatically angry about. Both political parties get mad at the president—Trump tweets too much.  Here, we get mad at St. Michael’s—they can’t seem to get the parking system quite right.

As a place for knowledge through exploration and self discovery, a college campus can at times feel like a place that completely exhausts topics of what is wrong with the world. When I arrived at St. Michael’s in 2015 I felt as if everyone was almost looking for something to be mad about, whether it had to do with the school itself, the country, the world, or even themselves.

Yet we verge on hypocrisy with our complaints. I often find that people I know to rip apart every minute detail about their St. Michael’s experience to be the same people posting on social media all summer about anxiously awaiting their return to their “true home.” People on either side of the political spectrum claim that the country is falling apart while they decorate their porches in intricate arrays of red, white, and blue each 4th of July.

It is in this near hypocrisy that a glimmer of positivity shines among a mess of worries and frustration. For the most part, the monotonous cries of doom-and-gloom, no matter how serious, can be deafening; however, there are times when hashing out concerns stands as the first step toward eliminating the root of what is wrong. While this may be exhausting, taking time to investigate and understand the raw facts of what upsets us is the first step to taking positive action. Without taking the time to digest facts and hear all sides of a story, we are unable to make informed action.

Facts are essential, and at times facts are not always pretty or fun to talk about. But facts can turn into positivity. Facts spark awareness, conservation, movement. Facts lead to clarity about favorite professors not returning to campus this semester. Facts help us to understand why NFL players would kneel during our national anthem, or how legislation plays a role in one person killing 59 people. Without facts, our complaints are merely blind cries; but if rooted in fact, highlighting our frustrations will better what we love and care about most, even if it is behind a curtain of anger.

In hopes of one day silencing the ruckus of bad news, we first must digest it. Read, watch, listen—in class, to people around you, and to media—understand, in order take positive, informed action against whatever news is screeching at you.



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