You Should Be Angry By Your Senior Year Of College
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You Should Be Angry By Your Senior Year Of College

Your friends should have taught you about unjust experience by now.

You Should Be Angry By Your Senior Year Of College

In grade school, where you go to school is often controlled by where you live or the alternative options available to you (like charter schools, private school, a home school co-op, etc.), so most likely you're with people with similar socioeconomic status who have similar backgrounds and experiences. I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia and most of my friends were like me: middle-class people whose dads worked salaried jobs, whose moms maybe worked, who had plans for college and their own salaried careers and would most likely end up in the suburbs like their parents.

There were outliers of course: my Mexican-American friend whose parents were immigrants, the girl with a single mom who had moved down from Detroit for financial reasons, the foreign-exchange student from Germany. But even their unique stories still worked in our school, since they could afford to live in our school district.

College is when you're really surrounded by people who can be extremely different from you. Your roommates and classmates can come from all over the United States and even all over the world. Some could be from the poorest inner city slum, stacking on scholarships and loans to be the first in their family with a college degree. Some could be so rich that they fly to Las Vegas once a month to see their family. Most will be somewhere in between those extremes, but they will still have had different experiences than you.

Being friends with these new, different people should teach you a lot. First, you'll probably learn positive things, like how a missionary kid from Ukraine learned multiple languages and had adventures in Germany on vacation. But eventually, if you're really friends with someone, you'll learn about the negative experiences too. Like how your friend who grew up in another state with a seemingly great family was sexually abused by an older brother.

The negative experiences should affect you. You should grieve with your friends that they have experienced something painful. And you should get angry about the injustice that they have experienced.

My first day of my freshman year of college, I knew no one who have experienced any form of sexual assault or misconduct (or at least no one who had shared such an experience with me). Now I'm about to finish the first semester of my senior year of college and I know seven people. Six women and one man. Some of those people are adults who survived a traumatic experience over ten years ago. One of them was assaulted this semester.

The more people who share their experiences with me, the angrier I become. I've heard from people who never reported, who reported and were helped, and who reported and were never helped. I'm thankful for the times that our justice has worked well and I am angry about the times it has failed. I better understand both why people report and why they don't. I'm angry that such an awful decision even has to be made, that we live in a world where assault happens.

I'm angry about these issues because while in college I've met new people who in some ways are extremely different than me. They trusted me with their negative experiences and awakened in me a new sense of justice for survivors of sexual abuse and misconduct.

Sexual assault doesn't have to be the issue you get angry about. But you should be meeting people who are different than you and have experienced something you can learn about: immigration, refugees, racial injustice, gender discrimination, etc. We live in a fallen world, so I guarantee that your friends have experienced some type of injustice. If you really care about them, you'll get angry about it.

Don't just stay angry, of course. Stewing in anger doesn't help anyone. Use that anger to propel you forward. I'm researching organizations that help survivors of sexual assault and I hope to volunteer with one. What can you do to help the immigrants you know, the refugees you know, the discriminated that you know? If there's no organization, make one. If no one at your school is speaking out, be the first. If you love your friends and truly want no one to experience what they did, you'll do something. Silence is complacency, after all.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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