In light of recent disasters, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and tornadoes, it has caused me to really evaluate my life. Since I have started writing for the newspaper, the topics that are most talked about in class are about the problems that students face on campus. We are constantly complaining about the parking problems, the bathroom conditions, the temperature in the rooms, the long lines and slow service in Jazzman’s and the ineffectiveness of public safety. I am most certainly guilty of complaining about all of these things, repetitively.
However, I also then get to thinking about how lucky I am. I am very lucky to have the opportunity of an upper-level education. I am very lucky to have a bed to sleep in at night. I am very lucky to have a warm room to go to when it is freezing outside. I am very lucky to have a place where I can shower whenever I need to. I am very lucky to have access to food when I am hungry. The list could go on forever.
I am aware of the argument that, yes, we do pay a lot of money to go to this school, and there are some flaws in the system. But I am not here to address the flaws in the system; that has been done enough. The administration is aware of these problems, and if people want to continue to push for them, more power to them. I will probably even put in a request to have the heat in my room turned down a notch. But that will be it. I almost feel selfish complaining about the excessive heat because there are many people in the world who would do just about anything to get into the warm house where I live.
Recently, I was reading a book about the hunger epidemic in children in the United States. In it, the author recounted a story about how one day she was driving through a poorer neighborhood and saw three children rummaging through a trash can for food. They found a half-eaten chicken and divided it up between them. The smallest child was eating a drumstick and the author saw all these black things in her mouth. They were ants. This, for me, puts those long lines in Jazzman’s in perspective. I may have to wait a while, but in the end, I still get good quality, ant-free food.
We are living in a closed environment on campus and should consider ourselves lucky that one of the biggest problems we have to deal with is not having toilet paper in the bathrooms. We all have paper towels, or napkins or tissues. It’s not hard to find a substitute until the roll is refilled.
Recently, a group of students, including myself, spent the night sleeping outside near the peace pole in the middle of campus in solidarity with the homeless as a part of Cabrini’s annual Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Campaign. It was freezing outside, and I was the most uncomfortable I had ever been in my entire life. Everyone, including myself, was complaining about the cold, the hard ground and the acorns. I realized that was the point. What we were complaining about, some people go through every night of their lives. And they don’t have the sleeping bags and five layers of clothing that I had on. Also, I was able to eat breakfast and return to my room afterwards.
This put a lot of things in perspective for me, and I vowed to at least try and think before I complained about how hot my room is. I am not saying that these issues shouldn’t be addressed, but I think it’s important to remember that we already have a lot to be grateful for. Maybe we should focus more on what we have than on what we don’t.
Posted to the web by Tim Hague