While we are back in the swing of academic life through the opening of classes again, it is important to begin every semester with a reflection on the past, both in terms of academic and personal life. Both of these different aspects of a students’ lives are intertwined, with one greatly being able to affect the other.
Upon reflection, it is important to start emphasizing the need for awareness in our lives. During our academic years, we are very focused on our academic careers, as well as personal issues and obstacles we may have to face. However, it is important that we start to eradicate the blind eye we tend to unknowingly give to the public sphere. It is important to take note of what is going on in different parts of the world, as well as technological, financial and scientific advancements that are occurring both globally and in our own country. It has come to my attention that we tend to have the months during our academic years fly by while we are oblivious to the great inventions, revolutions and – in contrast – catastrophes and suffering that is happening all around us in the public sphere.
An amazing aspect of being part of the Macaulay community is that it allows you to remain in touch with the public sphere, just as much as it vies for you to remain ambitious and driven in your own academic career. Through the weekly updates we receive from Dean Pearl, through the Macaulay newsletters that constantly open our eyes to injustices happening around the world, and through study abroad programs – even our own clubs here at Macaulay – we are able to successfully pair the public sphere with our private and academic lives.
However, it takes more than just a few emails for one to fully immerse themselves in the public sphere. It is up to the individual to seek out a more in-depth pursuit of the knowledge that they can receive about the public sphere and the world. The government, politics, class system, racial inequality, injustice and global relations have never been more crucial to understand than in this time. The current era has been one of great revolutions, simultaneously occurring around countries of war and great poverty. It is important to understand these concepts and how they are affecting the people that are living in the world.
It is also important to understand issues such as healthcare, education reforms, poverty, social class distinction and political ideologies. It is my hope that as the next generation, we will be able to curb our complaints about how people around us are not doing enough and be the exact change that we want to see in the world. It is easy to blame the people around us, and higher up for the world’s problems. While individuals in a higher political position and power may be able to have an arguably high dominance over many situations, that is not to say that we, as ordinary citizens, have no say or input in the way our global world works.
We have to become more educated about issues on the public platform, and after that, we will be able to make a difference in various forms. We must be persistent in our search for knowledge on our own, finding various outlets in order to attain more information about the public sphere, as it helps us grow into individuals with a sense of moral responsibility. While we must be persistent and ambitious about making time for important worldly information, we must also remain humble and be able to listen to others and listen to multiple opinions and facets of a debate. Doing so will give us critical skills that are essential to the welfare of our lives.