By Jon VanTreeck
Allow yourself to take a step back and remember the brochures you got in your mail during your senior year of high school. Do you remember those booklets with the one or two-worded stickers: “Impossible Questions,” “Inspiration,” “Soul,” etc? I have no problem with the first two, yet the latter is not what I thought it to be. That being said, undergoing my fourth semester at Beloit College, I am awestruck at how normative apathy plays a role at this school. While I realize I am addressing this issue with no credibility—mainly, since I do not hold an editor position for the Round Table—I want to mention apathy at our school as a concerned, yet consistently optimistic student.
With around 1,300 varying students from all across the country, it’s understandable that not everyone will share one unifying, collective mentality on a plethora of academic and social matters. However, when there is a perpetual absence at art gallery shows, or musical performances in Eaton Chapel, or infrequent athletic event attendance, I can’t say I’m happy with my Beloit experience. Do you ever get the feeling that students simply don’t care about your certain area of interest? Do you find yourself lost in a sea of monotonous indifference? It kind of sucks to come to that realization, but in some arenas of the college, it is perfectly normal—and that, my friends, is frustrating.
The reader should be aware that I did not choose to write this article to simply vent all my feelings through the Round Table as opposed to my daily diary. Rather, I hope to promote awareness of this contagious mentality, but more importantly provide valuable proposals. As for personal apathetic behavior, I am not at all taking myself out of this category. In fact I admit that participation and any form of compassion are not only time-consuming but fairly effortful. Yet, it feels so damn good to be a part of something and, on a deeper level, appreciate other people caring. For example, by caring and engaging within the college and town community, I envision this campus slowly reshaping its current image into something empowering and prominent.
When you think about it, four years goes by in the blink of an eye. And truthfully, Beloit has so much to offer—it is only a matter of time until we capitalize on our personal self-interests. The first step, I believe, is approaching apathy via proactive action. Whether that means joining a discussion panel, writing an Op-Ed for the Round Table, networking to get a speaker to lecture here, or endorsing understanding through one-on-one connections: it all starts with you. Moreover, Beloit College is a supremely quirky, intelligent, and distinct community. I think it’s about time we start restructuring our school-wide attitude from “meh” to motivation.