Crying out for change

We must never forget the victims of shootings in the United States

I am a student, a millennial, a daughter and a lot more. The reason I’m writing this is because I can’t sleep, I can’t go to school, I can’t walk around or go out with my friends without being scared. I lay awake thinking of the headlines, the numbers, the names and the families.

I’m not one of them. I didn’t lose a friend or family member to gun violence, but I am still so bothered. The recent shootings in the United States have pushed me beyond my limit. So here’s my question: What’s it going to take? How many more students, millennials, children, parents, friends and family members have to lose their lives? Have you watched the news coverage? If yes, then you’ve seen their yearbook pictures. That’s all we get—a yearbook photo and a name, and then they’re gone.

I walk into class thinking of the quickest exits in case of an emergency. I can’t go to a club without the thought that I won’t hear screams or gunfire over the music. Maybe you think I’m overreacting. Maybe you think this isn’t my business because I’m not an American citizen; but I am a citizen of the world. I have a voice and I’m so, so tired. Tired of seeing innocent people hurt, tired of seeing people who just wanted to go out with friends never come home and tired of being afraid. I go to bars and restaurants, to school and concerts, and so do you. It could be me and I refuse to be apathetic just because it didn’t happen to someone I know.

I want to know when it will be enough to tip the scales. I want to know why they didn’t tip a long time ago. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, I had so much hope for change. I believed that, if anything was going to spark change, it would be that horrific event. I was wrong. In the last year, in school after school, at clubs and churches and concerts, people have been killed. After the Parkland shooting, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School started an amazing revolution, but it’s barely reported in the news anymore. The Borderline Bar and Grill was hosting a college night which allowed 18+ clients for one night, when the gunman walked in and ended 12 lives, just a few weeks ago. Yet the media has already moved on because a more recent shooting happened somewhere else. The violence has been everywhere and it seems constant. I am asking anyone reading this: Aren’t you tired?

I want to act, I want to change, I want to yell and shout and make something happen—then I remember I can’t. I’m not loud enough, strong enough or important enough to create that change because I am one person. I am alone. So I’m writing this to express what I feel because I don’t know what else to do. We watch the news, we see their faces, and then we see them replaced by the next faces, moved aside and too quickly forgotten. Shock dies down, but they died first. How is it possible that we talked about the death of Harambe in my class for five weeks, when the lives lost in mass shootings are practically forgotten the next day? The world moves on so quickly, but the victims couldn’t, so why should we?

The news shows us the facts, the families, the sadness and then moves on to the next story. I’m not asking for them to change. I’m asking for all of us to take on a small piece of responsibility. To not forget their names or their faces. I feel heavy with the weight of the victims. It feels like everyone else is moving forward and forgetting too fast, and I am carrying them.

Let’s not forget them. Let’s carry them together. We are from the same generation as so many of the victims, and we are the ones who will make a change. Let’s start now. Research, speak up, make change, but most of all, remember their names.

Graphic by @spooky_soda



Keeping up with the chaos of being a student

Why the daunting task of saving up is almost impossible when you’re in school

Does anyone else feel as though the world is rigged against students? I’m referring to the financial pressures to keep up with the trends and behaviours which have been glorified by society. For example, as a student, you have to pay for your tuition, books, public transit, etc. This is just a small list of the necessities. You also have to consider the coffee it takes to survive these long days, the phone plans we all have to pay to stay in touch, and our basic needs such as clothing and so on. Honestly, the daunting list never ends.

Even a student who receives help from their parents will see the bills add up, and fast. Is it just me or is all of this one giant trap set up by the society we live in? How are we supposed to pay for all those basic necessities, while keeping up with the latest travel or fashion trends, let alone save anything? There is so much pressure to be living our lives to the fullest, yet if we do so, we end up broke with an uncertain future.

Another aspect that needs to be mentioned is that we are expected to achieve high levels of education with acceptable grades, but we’re also supposed to work and be productive members of society. On the surface, this is a good thing, since working allows us to gain experience, meet people, become responsible, etc. But the harsh truth is that not all university students have the time to work. Different programs have different schedules that aren’t flexible and make it difficult for some students to work consistently throughout the semester. Yet, the expectations and expenses are the same for all of us. How does that make sense?

The solution could be to make sure students are educated on when and how to spend money, and how to budget. However, if our parents don’t teach us how to save, the difference between bank accounts, and how to set them up, we’re already five steps behind. The banking system is overwhelming and intimidating to say the least, and anyone who isn’t taught how to move within it may be too scared to ask the questions needed to achieve success. Essentially, students who aren’t good with saving money might find themselves torn between wanting to pursue a desirable, luxurious lifestyle that’s promoted in society, versus aiming for a financially stable but ‘boring,’ life.

Where do we go from here? Do we live in the moment, travel and gain memories that last a lifetime? Or do we focus on our future and save for our first car and down payment? The truth is, it’s up to you, and there’s nothing wrong with trying to achieve a little bit of both. It seems the best solution is patience. Hold off for one more summer before going on that trip; skip those unbeatable sales for a few months and accept that this is the choice we all have to make at some point.

The pictures we see on social media of our acquaintances’ amazing travels don’t show how hard they worked or the debt they acquired from that trip. The amazing fashion influencers we try to keep up with don’t advertise the best places to get similar, cheaper alternatives, nor do they acknowledge the fleeting moment of a trend and how quickly it will be replaced.

While a certain lifestyle might seem easily accessible, there is often a lot more hard work involved than advertised. Attention must be given to the negative impacts of these trends.

Graphic by Ana Bilokin


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