By Kayley Schoonmaker
2013-14 MSCSA Vice President
The youth today are becoming notorious for being apathetic and uninformed when it comes to issues and policies facing them. As a college student, I have felt this apathy and miraculously managed to overcome it. The challenge is that we are all so focused on immediate problems – rent money, daycare, what we are going to wear tomorrow – that we sometimes lose sight of problems that are gradually becoming bigger. Some problems include the steadily increasing cost of tuition, student loan interest rates set to double on July 1st, and the current unfair distribution of financial aid to working, part-time students. I feel truly blessed to have defeated the dark cloud of apathy and ignorance. I have found light with the MSCSA.
Becoming engaged with the MSCSA – or just being engaged at all – can have positive effects on many different areas of life. As stated by Marion Menard, “a general improvement in social and school/university skills, greater self-confidence, reinforced moral values and integrity, and a compassion for others” is all amplified by being civically engaged. My goodness, who would have thought! This means that voting, volunteering, attending meetings with elected officials, and rallying for what a person believes in could improve grades, social life, and kindness towards others! It has also been proven to reap positive benefits on health! If one can find something they are truly passionate about, becoming engaged in it will be fun and easy. Who doesn’t want to see all of these benefits just by doing something they love?!
Many people do not even consider the fact that the students of today are the leaders of tomorrow. We are the future. We have the potential to be a very powerful group. I believe that college students have a fresh perspective on many issues, and could possibly hold the solution, right inside of them. How can they express this if they aren’t being encouraged to become involved and civically engaged?
Like I mentioned before, I was once an apathetic student. I didn’t care about anything going on around me besides my Facebook profile and texting my friends. With encouragement – LOTS of it – from the student government president at my school, I joined student senate. I went to Advocacy Days with the MSCSA, and have never once looked back. I was branching out and trying to find something new, and I ended up finding myself. This could happen to anyone! If you take nothing else away from this article, please get this: I encourage you to get out there and try new things! Advocate for a great cause that can create much needed change. It may not improve grades, health, social life, or ignite inspiration, but then again, it just might.