When Did The World Become Such A Scary Place

When Did The World Become Such A Scary Place

Just an optimist's view about a pessimistic world.
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Growing up, I never kept up much with current events. I did not watch the news as much as I claimed I did, and I wasn't really interested in talking about the rest of the world's problems when I was so fixated on my own. I was a teenager; of course, I was wrapped up in my own menial issues and drama. None of my peers seemed to care, so why would I? Coming to college, I was immediately surrounded with others who DID keep up with what was going on, who DID care and who were actually adamant about it. Professors insisted the importance of keeping up with current political, social, worldly events. So, again, I kept up with and began to care about the same things as my peers, as is the nature of peer pressure. But the more I started watching the news, reading things people report online or even the things mutual friends post online, the more I noticed how scary of a place the world actually is.

It's always been this way, at least, according to the history books. Things have always gone wrong and been seemingly impossible, in our country and around the world, but we always seem to bounce back and we're "good" for another 6-10 years. I'm sure I'm preaching to the amped-up choir when I recall that lately, we haven't been bouncing back as fast as we'd like. Not because of something we did but because we keep getting bombarded by these disasters on our own soil and beyond. People Are being killed in the streets in our own cities, cops are being gunned down, bombs are going off overseas and we are hearing the echoes right here at home; Nice, France, Turkey, the list goes on. And it's on our TV screens every day.

Being a communications major, I've taken a lot of media classes. I used to believe very passionately that the media toyed with their video clips and their headlines to make the world seem like a scarier place than it actually is. To strike fear into the hearts of people all over the world so that they have no other alternative other than to live in fear or build a metal bunker in their basement where they eat Campbell's Soup all the time and have their eyes glued the news stations for updates. (For my other communications majors out there who may have a test question on this it's called Mean World Syndrome).

While I still think the media produces a rather skewed version to try to get its viewers to believe that we live in a "mean world" (and that they cause HUGE problems in our country and in other places, but that's another article for another time) , I think, unfortunately, we are living in a scary, cruel world.

Unless they are happening in our own backyards, then all we can do is sit back and watch and read about it. It's a helpless feeling. To be on the other side of the world or the other side of the country and have no way of helping someone else escape tragedy. We feel angry, which is just what the people who commit these heinous acts of terror want us to feel. At one point in these past 2 hellish weeks I saw a celebrity post a picture on Instagram about how fear wouldn't win – we wouldn't allow it. At first, I thought to myself: "Brie Larson, fear is winning. It's been winning for a while. There's nothing we can do." It irritated me, for really no reason. But the more I thought about it, the more "right" she became in my eyes. But I still wondered: "Brie Larson, how do we not let fear get the better of us? How do we not let them win?"

As I'm sure you guessed, Brie Larson of Room didn't answer me. But, I did get the answer when I saw a group of new students at my school's freshmen orientation. They were so hopeful looking, so happy, so enwrapped in their own world. Sure, they could be very interested in current events or they could be like me when I first started. But they were still choosing to be happy and, it looked to me, like they still had an optimistic view about their futures in the world they live in.

The best thing we can do - other than speak out for those who have had their voices stifled – is to just live like freshmen. It sounds ridiculous, I know but hear me out. Enjoy the little things in life – even if it's just playing a video game where you catch little pocket monsters and get some fresh air while you do it. Hold on to the people that matter to you – your parents, your friends, roommates, brothers, sisters, shoot, even if it's your orientation group. Never let those people forget even for a second how much they mean to you and how much your life has improved them coming into it. And, whether it's your religion/faith, a life philosophy, or your own moral compass, never ever stop believing in what you believe in. No one can take that away from you, no matter how hard they may try. Do these things and maybe, just maybe, the world may stop being such a scary place.



Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Class Size May Matter, But Accountability Matters More

If students take the time to think, they will realize their own potential.
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When it comes to the topic of education, decisions are often made, but not quite acted upon. On the left, we have advocates that look to fund the educational system in hope of bettering the kids’ futures. On the right, education is addressed with a degree of leniency, paired with more of an advocacy for occupational programs and trade schools.

One of the more frequently debated matters regarding education, more specifically K-12, is classroom size. For many schools, a lack of funding has caused many teachers to quit; consequentially, with less teachers, more students, inevitably, have to cram into the same classroom. The student-teacher ratio, in some schools, has gone beyond 30:1. In some cases, the overcrowding issue for a classroom is so profound that a student doesn’t have his or her own desk to sit in.

Due to this notice of classroom size increase, in correlation with declining academic performance, a considerable majority of education reformers believe that the classroom size increase is more of causation. The only issue with this argument, however, is that for a contributing factor to constitute causation, it must be the sole reason that another variable must occur. With correlation, however, there are multiple variables (more than two) that can occur within a specific time span. These variables could potentially influence one another’s behavior, but never fully dictate the outcome.

What the common argument fails to account for is accountability itself. Accountability is not something that is taught in the classroom, nor should it be. This is a crucial part to a child’s success, both in the classroom, and in real life. A perfect example of this is within a lecture hall. In a lecture hall, you could have upwards of more than 150 students in the same room, listening to and meticulously noting all of the essential details to a professor’s lecture. It is up to the student to learn the material with the tools they are given, not the teacher to hold their hand through the class.

The only responsibility of any teacher or instructor is to provide the appropriate materials and knowhow for the student to guide themselves. This prepares the student for more rigorous learning material and tasks, resulting in more favorable opportunities, both scholastic and occupational.

For the teacher to implement the right tools, however, requires that the student can and will hold themselves accountable for their success in the course. Such accountability falls back on the basis of good parenting. As education has shifted, the blame of failure for a student in a class also shifted.

The shift has taken place from the student losing their privileges and extracurricular activities, to the teacher potentially losing their job (which is especially daunting with the threat of new teachers not obtaining tenure). With the latter portion of the Millennial Generation, along with Generation Z, parents bearing excessive leniency and overall apathy have made for a widespread mindset that fails to take responsibility for itself.

It’s time for parents to be accountable for their kids, and for the kids to be accountable for their own success. A system is only as useful as those that utilize it.

Cover Image Credit: Tra Nguyen

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