Indie Insights: Seton Hall's Culture of Negativity
Unwarranted student pessimism pervades University
Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 14:09
As of late, it seems like there is one commonality that links together most Seton Hall students: they love to complain.
Every school-related issue is perceived to be the fault of the institution, from difficult walking conditions after an ice storm to a cut in federal work study money. However, many students fail to recognize that some events or situations are out of the University's hands, like getting pummeled with over 30 inches of snow in one month.
Rather than appreciating the efforts of the University to improve conditions on campus, what often occurs is a seemingly unending series of student complaints: one person hears someone carping and then he/she does the same. This culture of negativity pervades our classrooms, our Facebook news feeds and, more often than not, our school-affiliated events.
It almost has become taboo to enjoy and appreciate our school. Recently, in one of our classes, someone compared our University to jail, and many of our students nodded in agreement. Unlike jail, however, there is no one confining students to our campus; if someone is unhappy with Seton Hall, he or she can leave.
Our university is not perfect, but it is an all-too-common copout to blame one's dissatisfactions on big institutions. How often do we hear politicians blaming the government for a social ailment? As educated students, we should not fall into these traps; instead, we must proactively search for solutions.
Yes, there is red tape to get through when trying to plan an event or to institute new ideas, but does that make our school any different than others around the country? No. There are steps one has to go through everywhere and Seton Hall is not any different. If our university so desperately needs repair, have the perseverance to create positive change.
Additionally, students need to accept that not everything can go exactly as they would like and notice the things the school does well, instead of merely emphasizing the negative. Whining only succeeds to create an atmosphere where everything seems to be going wrong, even if many things are just as they should be.
Such a persistently negative atmosphere reflects poorly on us all. How ungrateful must we sound as students of a well-recognized American college, complaining about how the cafeteria does not offer enough variety or that our school-issued laptops do not operate fast enough?
The contradiction of having to write a complaint about students complaining seems fitting in this whine-first, possibly-act-later mindset, but if that has to be the approach to alter our way of thinking, then so be it. We must continually strive as a student body to show optimism and school spirit; believe it or not, it makes college a much more enjoyable experience.
So next time you are sitting in class, fuming because the vending machine is out of soda and Seton Hall did nothing about it, consider how much worse things could be: there could be no vending machines at all.
Kevin Stevens is a senior English major from Lyndhurst, NJ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alyana Alfaro is a junior journalism major from Randolph, NJ. She can be reached at email@example.com