Photo by Eva Wilton
By Ryan Wurmsdobler
Anyone who has run a club or has actively participated in one, might confirm the notion that there is a mass exodus of volunteers, participants, or simply people who are interested. As someone who for the past three years has been active in leading, managing, and being a participant in clubs, I have firsthand witnessed this exodus and thought of some reasons why the numbers are dwindling. All of these are generational and socially influenced.
First and foremost would be the social trend leading many in my generation to focus on what seems to be self-gratifying in nature, with the focus more on the individualistic self, rather than being selfless. This wouldn’t go on to say that all people are greedy or have bad intentions, rather the behaviors that are often exhibited are more self-oriented and devoid of the understanding of the need to do something for others. More people would opt to drink on the weekends and go to parties rather than engaging in intellectual dialogue with others. This pleasure-seeking behavior shows what is pleasing to the generation of today, which is the complete opposite of going out and seeking intellectual relationships; having physical relationships. This focus on pleasure has led astray my generation from engaging with one another on an intellectual level, has led the majority of the generation from doing what used to be healthy and highly sought after.
Secondly, the amount of influence that the media has on my generation is extraordinary. The influences can range from staying in and watching a full season of some obscure Netflix show to taking what Cosmopolitan has to say to heart and have as many sexual relationships as possible. While talking about the media can fill more than a book with all the negative implications about why it could be a bad vehicle in our society, there has to be some responsibility of the individual to exercise their free will and to deny the pressure or the messages the media is feeding them.
Fighting the messaging and the influence of exercising certain behaviors is incredibly difficult, but there has to be some recognition that it can be done and furthermore, ignored in order to lead a more fulfilling life. The messages the media puts forth are ones that says: “Having sex with multiple partners without a relationship is fine” or “Do what feels right to you, disregard what your parents say.” Having these messages being expounded from the media influence my generation so much to rebel against our parents, who would know what is right in many aspects since they have the experiences that formed their wisdom to inform us. But it also goes back to the age old traditions of the Old Testament, where the Fourth Commandment calls for one to “Honor their Father and Mother.” This rebellion has only resulted in a destruction and lack of flourishment of interpersonal relationships.
Everything takes time and that is why this also has to deal with laziness. The motivational stories of the people that came two generations before my own are truly inspiring, but how come there are not many of those stories to go about today? These individuals went on to live fulfilling lives, to accomplish a great many things, to break boundaries that we thought could never be broken. Ultimately, they weren’t lazy in their lives and did what concerned them and did it truly well.
It’s so much easier to sit in bed and watch YouTube videos than to put on some decent clothes and attend a club meeting in some field or aspect that may be foreign to oneself. It’s so much easier to just indulge in self-gratifying behaviors than it is to strive for growth and to push forward into the unknown. Lastly, it is so much easier to do nothing, than to do something at all.
Ryan Wurmsdobler ’19 is a Psychology and Religious Studies double major, and is an officer for the Student Veterans Association.