Heading toward the second half of my final year in college has made me think about my time here at UR.
On the whole I’ve loved it here, but there are some misconceptions that still run rampant on our campus that I believe hurt everyone at this school. The most pervasive, and most damaging, of these is the'”apathy myth.”
What I define as the “apathy myth” is the common conception that UR students are too apathetic to get involved in the world around them.
As a whole we can best be stereotyped as a bunch of hardworking nerds who’d rather play a videogame than read a newspaper, or rather sit and complain about a problem rather than attempt to change it.
Right now I’m sure some of my readers are thinking, “Yeah, that’s true. So what’s the problem?” The problem is that it’s totally incorrect.
Students at UR are anything but apathetic. Apathy connotes laziness, and the people I see are anything but that.
Everyone is constantly busy pursuing a wide range of interests. Some people are doing community service, some are working on independent research and some are already on their way to a promising career.
Many people on this campus are active participants in the community. For evidence of that, just look at how many service organizations exist on campus.
There is the Tiernan Project, Community Service Network, Circle K, the Community Living Center, Alpha Phi Omega — by the looks of it, UR students are very interested in getting involved in the community around them.
What about issues that extend beyond our immediate community?
Some people argue that studying and focusing on only the academic realm qualifies as being apathetic, and that many U.S. students are living in an academic “bubble,” unaware of world policy.
While we may not have a rally everyday like Berkeley or other activist colleges, I don’t think that means we don’t care about the world around us.
Instead, I think students at UR are busy preparing to change the world around us.
That nerdy kid who spends too much time in the library may be studying medicine to one day create a vaccine for one of the world’s deadliest diseases.
The girl who spends so much time on her psychology thesis that she doesn’t have time for the evening news may be formulating a theory that changes the way the world views human relationships.
To me, spending time absorbed in learning does not automatically imply that a person is ignorant of the world around them. Rather, it may mean that instead of watching news happen, he or she plans to make it happen.