Student apathy a byproduct of laziness and pessimism

    A.S. Council candidates, student media outlets and students in general often decry the lack of things to do in La Jolla and bemoan the campus’ poor social atmosphere. As a result, Friday afternoons bring the weekly evacuation of UCSD’s SoCal natives, with holidays like Martin Luther King Jr. Day making the exodus particularly acute. But at what point does the student apathy mindset become less of a campus issue and more of a self-fulfilling prophecy? After all, despite the complete and utter lack of things to do on campus, there seem to be no lack of busy, sleep-deprived students who always appear to be rushing from one thing to another.

    The truth is, for many students, the alleged dearth of fun things to do is as much the result of attitude as anything else. After all, how can one expect to become integrated into the campus social network if one spends weekends in Orange County? For those who do stay, weekends regularly bring overflowing parties from Pacific Beach to Mira Mesa, opportunities to barbecue on the beach (in January, no less), more poker games than you’ll see on “Tilt” and Sunday afternoon football gatherings. It just takes time to develop the relationships and groups of friends that make it possible to get that party invitation or pull together a regular poker game.

    Sure, La Jolla isn’t the ideal place to have a university. Many of the things around La Jolla are too pricey for public school students and local ordinances make raucous parties on or right next to campus a rarity. But that doesn’t mean students shouldn’t be responsible for their own fun instead of waiting for fun to come to them. After all, many of the alleged best college towns, such as Williamstown, Mass., and Amherst, Mass., are in places where it snows about six months of the year — making wild parties a little difficult — and where, instead of things around campus being too expensive, there isn’t anything around campus besides cows and pasture. A bigger problem on this campus may be the large number of students from nearby Los Angeles. Once freshmen get here and college doesn’t immediately live up to their expectations, it’s easy to go home on the weekends.

    Part of the problem is unrealistic expectations about college; what high school senior doesn’t want to believe that he or she is headed for parties with hot, slutty people, classes full of smart, witty people or a chance to do whatever he or she wants away from parental supervision? If you’re not getting enough out of your college experience, it’s always easier to blame the college than yourself.

    No matter where you are, to be happy you’re going to have to get involved in something you like, whether it’s going to parties, joining the student government, going Greek, doing a show for campus television, hitting up the world-class restaurants around La Jolla, going to the beach, gambling at Indian casinos or smoking it up (Hookah, of course). If UCSD was located on the corner of Broadway and Fifth Avenue in New York City and all one did was complain and play Counterstrike, it probably wouldn’t make for a good time.

    So instead of turning toward a football team or more money for concerts as a way to improve the quality of student life, maybe this year’s A.S. Council candidates can instead encourage students to stick around and take advantage of what is around them before asking for more.

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