Well, guys, here we are. Or rather, here I am, rounding out my third year at John Carroll and typing up my last column for the year (not to worry, my fans, I’ll be back next year!). Anyways, to say this year has been a learning experience would be a hefty understatement. If I’m being completely honest here, I have to admit it was one of the hardest years I’ve ever had and full of more disappointments than I would’ve ever hoped for.
However, as my fellow editor Tim Johnson mentioned in his column a few weeks ago, struggle often begets growth. In my case, I definitely grew a lot. Like, a heck of a lot. And, I’m finding now that, at the end of the year, I’m able to take a clearer look around me at my life, my friends’ lives and the John Carroll community in general.
I could probably write a 300-page book if I wanted to detail every lesson I’ve learned so far at John Carroll. I’m pretty sure no one would really be interested in reading 300 pages of my sentimental thoughts, though. So I’ll keep it short and sweet.
I’d really like to address a recent issue that has become increasingly clear to me throughout this year. With each passing day, I have become more critically aware of how people treat each other, especially at a young age.
When I say young age, I am in fact including every student here at John Carroll. I honestly don’t care how many people object and say that they are old enough to get married, legally drink, join the army or whatever. We all know that 21 years really is just a drop in the bucket. And, when it comes to wisdom, I’m willing to bet not one of us has hit the jackpot yet. Anyways, it has become apparent to me that many of us young people are unnervingly ready to undermine our fellows at pretty much any chance we get.
How do I know this? Well, let’s take a look at the Greek Week debacle that takes place each year. More importantly, I would love for everyone with a Twitter account to take a quick browse through some of their followers’ tweets within the past two weeks.
I’ll bet my entire savings account that 90 percent of you will be able to find some kind of anti-Greek Week tweet from at least one of their friends. “RT if you hate Greek Week.” “Hating the Greeks.” “Definitely staying in my room during Greek Week #stop.” Ring a bell, anyone?
Now, before anyone gets their panties in a bunch about me sounding like a typical sorority girl getting all defensive about Greek life, just hear me out for a second.
I understand that Greek life is not for everyone. I understand that it has its benefits and drawbacks (just like pretty much everything in this world). I also understand why those who are not involved in it might think Greeks are ridiculously obnoxious – especially during our week.
Trust me. I can see that.
However, what I also see is that students are building a community of hatred by bashing other fellow students.
This isn’t just about Greek life, either; this could be applied to several other groups on campus, whether they are University organizations or not. In fact, this so-called community experience can be seen in countless social settings. The bottom line is that such angry tweets or negative comments signify something more sinister than simply not liking an organization.
From my personal experiences, I can attribute this issue to a possible combination of two facts. The first is insecurity. One of the first lessons I learned in “Bullying 101” back in the day was that when someone attempts to undermine you, it is because he or she sees you as a threat to their personal security and feels the need to bring you down.
The second is the sense of community that comes from grouping together and targeting another person or group of people.
You have to admit, it’s a lot easier to say something controversial or even cruel when you’ve got an army of friends doing the same thing.
This is essentially how the bullying situation snowballs in schools, and I think the same thing can be applied to the anti-Greek mentality that I’ve been seeing so much of recently.
So, dear students of John Carroll, if you are among those who don’t like Greek life, don’t join. If you don’t like to play football, don’t join the team. If you don’t like to write or sing or dance or invent things, don’t do it. But, there’s no need to keep publicly bashing each other. We are all in the same game together: trying to find what we love and become the best people we can be. I’m all for freedom of speech. It should be clear by now that I’m in no position to censor other peoples’ opinions, but for the love of the Jesuits, let’s just try to be nice.
So, I hope when I come back for my final year in August, I won’t have to write this column again.
Peace out, John Carroll.