Does Anybody Care Anymore?


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Lately I have been struggling with the questions “how do we get people to care?” and “how do we get people involved?” I go to university, which is a place where people tend to be highly motivated and interested in getting involved. We are in a highly competitive environment and we’re all trying to give ourselves that boost we need to get us our desired career. As such, we do a lot outside of classes. But this year…well, it seems as though motivation is lacking.
I think a lot of the lack of motivation is due to the problems people have noticed on campus. Our president is the highest paid in Canada. She makes a ridiculous amount of money. In fact, it seems as though it all goes to her. Since I began attending the university, they’ve added another 1500 students yearly, which is a lot, but they haven’t really done anything to improve the buildings and increase the amount of space we have for studying. Just trying to move around the school is a nightmare because of the number of people in the hallways. The university has even made it more difficult for clubs to get out into the campus community and be seen. We used to be able to book classrooms and equipment for free, but now we have to pay for equipment and we can only book a few rooms a year. This makes throwing events difficult. As such, I think people are genuinely disappointed with the state of the university and unaware of the clubs’ existences.

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But it seems that there is more to it than that. Normally first years come to university and immediately try to get involved. Some look for the more social groups to make friends, and others look for groups that help them get ahead in their field. Many get too involved and end up dropping a few things. But the first years haven’t done that this year. In fact, from what I’ve heard from others, they haven’t even been getting that involved with their classes. And it seems as the students who are graduating have become highly apathetic too. Usually those graduating want to go out with a bang, so they put a lot of effort into their activities in the last year. This is partially because it’s the last year before heading out into the real world and partially to add some extra padding to their resume. But not this year. It seems like those of us who are graduating after spending years getting involved are just exhausted. Nobody cares any more. It’s all very strange.
But this creates a dilemma: how do we keep everything from dying? A number of clubs have already shut down. The Interfaith may be shut down in March if I can’t find people to take over. Even the Freethinkers is struggling, and it’s a well established club. I keep trying to find ways to bring people in and get them to care, but all of my efforts have been in vain. So how do I get people to get involved? How do I get them to care? And how do I save the clubs that I put so much of my time and energy into?

TEAM

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23 responses to “Does Anybody Care Anymore?

  • bmxbadgirl

    I’m not sure if someone already said this in a different way. But the club doesn’t matter, you do. As you leave there you will inevitably start new groups, change new people. People DO CARE, just not everyone about everything. When the teacher is ready, the students come. Your leaving the small pond of university, they will survive in their own way….but your pond is bigger now. Go, swim happy! DO NOT GIVE UP… EVER!

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  • Tree Hugging Humanist

    Could it be they are feeling stretched too thin or overwhelmed by all the needs/possibilities?

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    • hessianwithteeth

      possibly. The problem is hard to know when they are not interacting with the campus in ways we see. For First years I know for a fact many are over whelmed by it all. I didn’t do a whole lot myself the first year. Though even then there seems to be lower amount of top off that. And there a a few think that have been changed (less time for clubs showcase, and in a significantly worse location being one I suspect hurt everyone.) Though there has to be more then just one or two reasons.

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  • Cynthia Mauleón

    You asked three really important and heart-wrenching questions: “How do we get people to care?” ” How do we get people involved?” and “How do we keep everything from dying?”

    Your post touched me deeply, and although I couldn’t respond immediately, I held you in my heart all day, for whatever that’s worth. I’m sorry that you’re struggling with these issues. It can be so challenging and frustrating when people around us don’t share our enthusiasm or sense of urgency about issues that are deeply important to us. I am finding for myself that peace comes with acknowledging that my own behavior is the only thing I can really control, (and that’s on a good day) but of course, I still need to remind myself of this about twenty times a day!

    You obviously are a deep thinker and a very caring person, and I’m sure you are a gift to each group of which you are a part; as you have been at university, I’m sure you will continue to be wherever you go. And as much as you would like the things you have worked for, sweated for, and agonized over to continue after you leave, that may or may not happen in its current form. And painful as that reality is, sometimes it can be ok. Even if the organizations or groups that you’ve been a part of do not continue in their current form, you’ll never know how many seeds you’ve planted that may bloom in other, unexpected ways.

    As to your lament–“How do we keep everything from dying?” What a powerful phrase. That strikes me to the core. I hear your pain. And yet…my former boss once told me when I was struggling with a difficult issue, “Sometimes letting things break is a strategy.” For me that helped me see that if I take on all the pain of a problem or situation, and don’t allow things to take their natural course, if I’m the only glue trying to hold something together, eventually what comes unglued is me, and that serves no one. If I allow natural consequences to have their way, eventually other people besides me notice that there is a problem, and step up to make the necessary adjustments. If you are a visionary type person, and can see trends before they become obvious to others, this can be a painful process to watch. But it can work.

    Wishing you only good things. Take care

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  • kimbennetta

    Well the first thing that needs to change is attitude. It sounds like you are living at the effect of your life instead of the cause. Now the president might get paid a lot, but (a) you can’t change that, (b) she is running a country (c) is it possible that you are suffering from tall poppy syndrome. As for the university I am sure there are always things that are changing and it makes me wonder whether it is as terrible as you describe or whether you have just chosen to focus on the negative. Our brains are like a google search engine, it will search for whatever you type in. Therefore if you see your current situation as doom and gloom then it doesn’t matter what is going on as you will only see doom and gloom. Change your attitude and you will influence those around you to do the same.

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    • hessianwithteeth

      Well that came across of dismissive more then anything else. So if you we as so consistent of how the human brain works you should recognize that’s not an effective manner of changing a persons opinion.

      Yes this post may be largely complaints, and certainly some are better founded then others, but you are correct you don’t know the greater context.

      Though I will grant attitude dose play a large role, but there is only so much positive attitude a few people can put into something and the rest of their lives, when they are not getting some back in kind.

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      • kimbennetta

        It wasn’t meant to be dismissive. We do not have control over the choices, decisions and attitudes of others. What we do have is the choice to determine what we do. By leading by example, without even trying you will influence those around you. Have you ever been around someone who is constantly super happy, you will find that it is almost impossible not to be happy while in their presence. A positive attitude goes further than you think

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    • hessianwithteeth

      We didn’t notice this before, but it appears you’re misunderstanding who I’m talking about when I say “President.” I’m not talking about the leader of a country, we don’t even have a President in Canada, I’m talking about the head of my university. She makes $1 million a year. I doubt our Prime Minister makes that much.
      And yes, I can change things. I can’t alone, but we have centuries of history that prove that people can change things. Apathy can’t change things, but action can.
      I don’t know what “tall poppy syndrome” is, but what I’m suffering from is annoyance at people who talk big but aren’t willing to step up and put any work in. Both of my groups get a lot of verbal high fives from people why “support” them, but very few of those people contribute to ensuring that these groups are able to remain on campus. It’s not hard: show up to a few meetings, volunteer for a few hours a semester, promote the group to other people. But instead we have three people putting in longs hours every week for free because people want these groups on campus, but they don’t want to have to do anything to help these groups.

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    • hessianwithteeth

      Oh I missed this before. We are talking about the President of a university not a country.

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  • ChazBufe

    I’ve been wrestling with this question for decades.

    Rational argument in itself isn’ t sufficient — if it were, we’d already be there.

    Ridicule–relentless ridicule–is the other essential ingredient.

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  • Janine@BWSS

    I am close to being a burned-out do-gooder. However, I prefer to think that I am on a temporary hiatus rather than suffering from permanent apathy. When frustration with others’ apathy, proud and deliberate ignorance, overblown sense of entitlement, and/or negative energy get to be too much, I need withdraw like a turtle into a shell to recharge my internal batteries. I wish you luck in your quest to motivate people to care. The only thing that has ever worked for me is to flat out ask someone with whom I have a personal connection to become involved. Strangers couldn’t care less that I passed out from lack of oxygen while pleading for their involvement in any given endeavor or organization. Friends and family will at least give it some thought, if the activity meets a need of theirs or allows them to exercise a specific talent.

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  • Does Anybody Care Anymore? | DharaNJ

    […] Does Anybody Care Anymore?. […]

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  • amberlisa

    I teach at a community college and extinguishing American Apathy is mission! (One of them anyway.) But it’s not an easy one to accomplish.

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  • amberlisa

    But for those of us who read, write and think, we recognize that things are getting really, really bad. We gotta get people caring. I think people are just overwhelmed. They need to know what they can do, and they need to understand how the apathy affects them, which is to say when you don’t vote you get the government you deserve…and then you spell out all the horrible things that government is up to right now, and explain how this can and will happen to them…and that’s when people start to care….

    Liked by 1 person

  • amberlisa

    Oh it’s so crucial we gotta get people to care….deep fried apathy seems to be a uniquely American problem, brought on by the fact that we have so much freedom (compared to most people in the world) and endless distractions to burn that freedom up with.

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  • valeriecam

    I can relate on the issues with universities. I attend a university in Texas and I hate how they squeeze so much money out of students. Everyone is so paranoid because, on average, students get fined $300-$500 for things like parking violations and late fees. They are improving the campus so at least something good comes out of it. Motivating others is challenging. I’m a teacher and I can tell you that it’s one of the hardest things to do. What’s worked for me is trying to create a community that others want to be part of and bringing in shared interests. I wish you luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Chaase Dylan

    I think what’s most important is that YOU care, and no matter how apathetic anyone else seems – they’ll never break you. Stay gold, baby – accept the things you cannot change – turns out, it’s true , you can’t change anybody, but you can lead your own life as good example for anyone who might have questions about how to get back into the swing of ‘fucks given’ – chances are, whoever they are -they will respect you for respecting them during their time of apathy, rather than berating them to make a change they’re just not ready to make- they’ll approach you for advice when the time finally does come. Always be compassionate, always be nice!

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  • Ngobesing Romanus

    It’s necessary to care; to think of others. Without this we cannot have an excellent world.

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  • seesharppress

    The over-riding problem for atheists (at least in nominal Mexican Catholic southern Arizona–my ‘hood) is how to approach our friends and neighbors, Here, it’s a cultural thing.Most never go to church. Never. it’s probably best not to directly confront. My first-generation neighbors’ flamingly overt gay cousin has done more for tolerance than I ever could.

    Peace y’all,
    Chaz

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  • Foghorn The IKonoclast

    Oh I care and wonder if people around the world would start caring.

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