Our view: a fresh start

Corporate corruption. Parental neglect. Political scandals.

There are a lot of reasons to be disappointed by today’s headlines. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.

As the semester comes to a close, it’s natural to reflect on our spot in society. Right now, we’re students, but within a few years, most of us will be graduating and entering the real world. That means it will be up to us to shape what we see around us.

Sure, it sounds idealistic. Yes, it’s reminiscent of something you might find on an inspirational poster. But it’s true.

As students, it’s easy to ignore what’s going on around us – or, if not ignore, exist without doing much about it. It’s not the most admirable route, but it makes sense. Most of us are busy balancing classes with jobs, finding a way to make time for our families and friends as well. It’s not that we don’t care; it’s just that priorities shift over time, and this time in our lives is often meant for self-discovery and reflection.

It’s also a time for fun; as Tom Petty once famously said, “Relax. Work is for people with jobs. … The work never ends, but college does.” For so-called traditional students, at least, college serves as an extended adolescence, a time to learn about the world and decide exactly what we think of it.

But for many of us, the next stage tends to be more about others than ourselves. Some students, especially those who did not come straight from high school or who are raising children of their own already, skip this step. They have already been forced to realize what many of us can now put off – the only people to blame for the world’s problems are ourselves.

We’re also the only ones who can change them.

We really are the future business leaders of the world. The future politicians. The future historians, artists, scientists and doctors. The future parents.

If we don’t like what we see, we can change it.

Political science majors are sickened by the moral flexibility in many of today’s politicians, by their penchant toward pleasing the public on the surface while pulling strings behind the scenes. Then don’t fall prey to the practice when it’s your turn. When you leave with your degree, make a promise to yourself that you won’t compromise your principles.

People will tell you that it’s just the nature of the game – every field, every career has its version. Mainstream media bends to the wills of advertisers. Businessmen and women take a bit off the top from their companies. It’s just how it goes.

It doesn’t have to be.

At this point in our lives, the glass isn’t necessarily half full or half empty. It’s clean and waiting to be filled. Whatever has come before, college is a fresh start, and a college diploma is the clean glass. We don’t have to give in to what has come before. We can decide to make a difference. To clean up the world. To stick to what we believe in. To treat other humans with respect and kindness.

The world is ours. Make yours something you can be proud of.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.