Question of the day:
What happens when our general quality of life is so good, that we virtually have little to nothing to complain about?
We complain about everything.
Now, I’ve never been out of the country, but I don’t think you have to travel the world to know that the majority of the people that live in this country have “first-world problems,” or problems that one can only experience in the first world.
Some examples include: “My iPhone is so slow right now.” (I probably say this at least four times a day.) “I have so much stuff and not enough space for any of it!” (Story of my life. I know. I should be ashamed of myself.) “I want to change the channel/put a DVD on/turn the heat up/go to the bathroom…but that involves getting up.” (Don’t even ask me how many times I say this to myself in a day. It’s embarrassing.)
In other words, we have problems that aren’t even really problems.
So, if America as a whole has “first-world problems,” then what do we have here at good ol’ Fairleigh Dickinson University?
You, reading this, know all too well.
The notorious, yet also widely loved @fduproblems.
The name has come to refer to much more than just the individual FDU Problems, an anonymous Twitter-user, or perhaps multiple users, who has said some salty, though, admittedly, often pretty humorous things about our “esteemed” institution in the past.
“FDU problems” is more like one phrase that encompasses the wide spectrum of things that can/do go wrong at this school.
I’ll admit, I’ve laughed at things I’ve read on FDU Problems in the past, more than once. But on the whole, I’m not a huge fan. Not because of what this mysterious person is saying, or because of what its followers have to say in response.
It’s a free country. You have the right to say whatever you want about your school, for whatever reason you see fit until you’re blue in the face.
Don’t let me stop you.
That being said, just like with our “first-world problems,” I think that my fellow classmates should consider that some of these problems might not be problems at all.
For instance, to the people who were pissed off that school wasn’t reopening in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy fast enough… do you seriously think that the school remained closed of its own volition?
Do you seriously think you were the only one inconvenienced, and that the school stayed closed solely for the purposes of antagonizing you?
Do you think that the powers that be, the individuals who are running the university day-in and day-out, were sipping wine and watching Netflix the entire time?
I doubt it, to say the least.
Things could have been handled better, sure. When asked, the Dean of Students and other campus life personnel admitted that there is not, in fact, a standard protocol by which to follow in the wake of a natural disaster, especially one of Sandy’s magnitude. The fact is, the effects of Hurricane Sandy and the events that followed in her wake were pretty much unfathomable before the storm hit.
For someone who grew up in Miami, Fla., a place where “hurricane” is pretty much a household word, I never expected that something like this would ever happen in New Jersey.
Either way, even if these or other gripes were actual, legitimate problems, we, the students, are going about solving them the wrong way.
My generation as a whole sometimes puzzles me.
We choose the strangest, and often, most inappropriate times to get all riled up about something, and we tend to express our frustrations in the most futile and, quite frankly, childish ways.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no activist.
The most activism I’ve ever practiced is the odd donation to charity, liking a couple Facebook groups, and writing this column (all of which I can do while sitting on my ass).
I’m no different than the average person. I sit my on ass and say I’m doing I’m something for the world but I know I’m not.
I can see how it’s difficult to feel compassion for something far removed from you.
But, you know all hope for humanity is lost when people stop caring about what goes on in their own backyard. Or in this case, their own school.
We have a sense of apathy, especially with regards to our school, that baffles me sometimes. Clubs die because of lack of interest. Programs fail because of lack of participation.
This doesn’t just happen at FDU.
This is nothing new.
This used to make me think that the student body just didn’t care about anything, until I realized that’s not the case at all.
The problem is, we seem to care about all the wrong things.
When the school instates a new housing policy that makes it virtually impossible for students to do nothing but sit on their ass during their time here, we get seriously pissed off.
When the administration goes through students’ refrigerators during the power outage to remove perishable food items, and confiscates (not STEALS, to clarify) our alcohol that we weren’t supposed to have in the first place, we go completely postal, flooding news feeds with caps lock and generally just losing our cool.
It’s almost as if we’re like: SCREW THE DEVASTATION THAT JUST HAPPENED TO MY STATE, YOU GUYS TOOK MY ALCOHOL. SCREW MY YEARS OF APATHY. NOW I FINALLY HAVE A REASON TO BE UPSET. GATHER ‘ROUND, CHILDREN, LET US TAKE TO THE STREETS WITH PITCHFORKS UNTIL THESE WRONGS ARE RIGHTED.
Here’s a hard smack with a reality stick.
For some of you, your alcohol was the only thing lost during this storm. Others lost everything. Consider yourselves lucky.
If you’ve never taken the time to look at FDU Problems, I’ll spoil it for you, because I’ve been hearing the same things for the past four years.
Seriously people, how many times are we going to say that “Gourmet Dining” is just a name? We get it already, a trip to the caf is no trip to The Cheesecake Factory, or whatever tickles your fancy.
How many times are we going to go on and on about the same things?
How many times are we going to continue to devalue the school that WE ALL ATTEND?
For those of you that think FDU is unworthy of your enrollment, no one is making you stay. You’re free to withdraw any time.
For those of you that think FDU is a “crappy” school, consider that you attend this “crappy” school. Hmm, I wonder what that might say about you.
What bothers me most is that students haven’t yet realized that tweeting your complaints about the school or posting an angry status on Facebook isn’t going to change anything. It isn’t going to do anything for anyone.
I could be wrong, but for the amount of complaining I’ve seen almost every day for the past four years, I would think that the Campus Life or the Dean of Students offices would be constantly inundated with students voicing their long list of concerns.
You would think that SGA meetings would have a deluge of avid attendees who take an active role in making their school a better place.
But having worked in both offices, and being on SGA, I can tell you that is far, far from the case. Sure, students come in every now and then, but trust me, FDU Problems gets way more play.
What’s even more disheartening, and I’ll even go so far as to say, just plain disgusting, is that last week, for the first time all year, I walked into an SGA meeting to a packed room, and I wasn’t happy about it.
Because I realized that it took the confiscation of illegal alcohol to get these students there.
I realized that for each of the 70 people in the room that were, to their credit, voicing their concerns to an appropriate outlet, there had to be ten more who for all their complaining couldn’t even show their faces.
We don’t all have the time to be “activists,” whether the cause is saving human rights or saving our school. Some of us have enough on our plates as it is. I understand that completely.
There’s no shame at all in being a student and nothing else. After all, getting a degree is what we’re here for when all is said and done.
But, what I’m saying is, if you don’t have the time to try to make your school a better place, whether in a small or a great way, then you don’t have the time to complain.
It’s really that simple.
And if you’re going to complain, take it to someone who actually cares and can help you.
There’s a lot more to be said for the kid that comes in furious, guns-blazing to yell at the Dean of Students, than there is for the kids who post angry statuses on Facebook.
And to those students who took the time out of their day to make it to last week’s meeting, my hat goes off to you.
But to the rest of you, I have this to say: I was told recently that our late President J. Michael Adams lived by Gandhi’s philosophy “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
But the fact is, people don’t want to be the change they want to see in their school, let alone the world.
And knowing this, weighing this realization against the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy and the months of hard work that await the people of New Jersey, well, this just makes everything seem so much more hopeless.