Many Buffalo State students apathetic to global affairs

Day in and out, I witness college students dismissing what is going on in the world around them, instead focusing purely on themselves and their small, materialistic universes.

When I came to college in mid-August, I had an image in my head of what this life was going to be like: intellectual conversations on news and culture, discussing opinions on books read simply for pleasure, and speaking out about beliefs and values felt on real life issues. Yet, what I am hearing is students discussing which parties to attend, what clothes are the latest trends, how to wear their hair, how drunk they got last Saturday night, and where to buy “good weed.”

Since coming to Buffalo State, I have witnessed underage students drink vodka, liquor, beer, and several other alcoholic beverages. I have seen students smoke marijuana, snort cocaine, and lick crushed powdered drugs like “Molly” and Adderall. I have noticed numerous students skip class to instead get high, shop at the mall, or go for a coffee run. I see fellow freshman continuously entering classes late with little care for the disruptions they cause to their professor or classmates, and little disregard for respecting their teacher’s time and lessons.

What I don’t see much of is students taking school — and life — seriously.

Out of the students who actually bother to attend class on a regular basis, a load of them fall asleep in class, talk and giggle while the professor is teaching, interrupt other students while they are giving an answer, and text or play with their iPad ­— all without realizing that they are not only ruining their own educations, but harming the educations of the students around them.

These are the students who spend hours getting ready and preparing for parties, but spend less than an hour a week studying. These are the students who get high in the dorms, the bathrooms, and even the outside benches, simply to maintain their friendships. These are the students who get drunk every weekend — and even some weeknights — just to be able to have a good time. And these are the students I overhear having conversations that never go beyond what they experience in their own personal lives.

There is so much going on in the world around us, yet it seems as though many freshman here at Buffalo State never care to notice. There is a whole world out there with problems, tragedies, and triumphs that a lot of these students never care to learn about. They can’t even seem to acknowledge problems happening right here in Buffalo. Many of them won’t even pay attention in the very classrooms they are paying to sit in. It is as if their minds are closed to anything that doesn’t involve parties and outfits.

We were watching videos of the horrific reality of fourth world countries in my culture studies class last week. I couldn’t believe the tragedies people in places such as Guatemala and Kenya face under their corrupt governments, homelessness, uninvestigated crime rates, never-ending poverty and the abuse and rape of women.

On the screen projected images of people living beneath bridges and foraging through dumpsites.

We were told that these people are living off of less than a dollar per day. Some of them are being sold into the sex trade by their parents. Most are working more than they should ever have to be able to receive just an elementary education.

I cried when I witnessed these people’s tragedies. They struggle every day, while their leaders profit from corruption. I cried for these men, women, and children who live in poor conditions that they will never be able to get out of. I cried for their future generations — for all of the children that will grow up to face the very same struggles. I cried for the fact that it’s a never-ending cycle of pain.

I looked around me and I felt like crying at what I saw there too: students falling asleep, texting, glancing at the clock, doodling in their notebooks. I couldn’t believe that some of my fellow students had such little sympathy for the devastation of human lives.

Our generation should be here to better ourselves so that we may make a difference in the world. We will never make a difference, however, if we do not make the choice to take notice and take action.

As I was leaving the classroom, I overheard multiple conversations. One was about a party that weekend, another was about a girl’s hair, and another one consisted of making dinner plans. None featured what was going on in my head: What are we going to do about what is happening in Guatemala and Kenya? And even in Buffalo for that matter? There is so much wrong in the world.

What kind of people are we if we do not value our education and the lives of others? When coming here, I didn’t think I’d have to ask this question as frequently as I do. I really thought freshmen in college would have a little more curiosity and concern for the injustices in the world.

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