With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
By The Executive Board
Less than a month ago, yet another group of future Amherst graduates sat in Johnson Chapel and were welcomed to the College with a resounding tribute to their individuality, their diversity and above all, their greatness. We’ve all heard this speech at some point, but as the months and even years go by and the excitement at moving in becomes the monotony of a daily trek to class, this greatness we were all once destined for gets lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Sure, we were all once the valedictorian, the captain of the basketball team and the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, but once we got here, in the midst of getting from class to Val to rehearsal, greatness faded and life became like the snow, a source of beauty and wonder at its first fall, but soon just another nuisance to trudge through.

Every day, at one of the best colleges in the country — a fact we don’t fail to repeat and laud ourselves for, deservedly or not — a large portion of the student body skips class. They might have been tired that day from writing a paper the night before or simply just didn’t feel like sitting through another 50 minutes of lecture, but this apathy towards classes is simply disgraceful. Classes at Amherst are a privilege, not a right, and too many of us take them for granted. We only have four years here with some of the most brilliant minds and respected experts in the world, and we should not squander them because we stayed out too late the night before.

In a similar vein, reading is not there to be ignored. Yes, there is a lot of it and only so much time, but not reading and simply making up something smart to say in class the next day is both unfair to the professor, your fellow students and yourself. Remember how much those books and course readers cost? That’s because they’re actually worth something, and the knowledge they can impart to you is well worth the time and hopefully worth the money.

Outside of class, we all try to be everything. We want to be dancers and debaters, singers and senators, athletes and activists, all at the same time. Quality disappears in the face of quantity, in the sheer amount of items we can list on a résumé, or simply in the number of things we can tell people we are and have them look at us in awe. This might be a cliché by now, but it is well worth remembering once in a while: it’s only worth doing if you’re going to do it well.

But what is it all for? Before we plunge you all into deep existential crises about your futures (we’ve had many), we want to reiterate that, no, you don’t have to know exactly what you want to do yet. But as we all go through our paces to become somebody someday, we forget to ask ourselves what it is we’re actually doing. We’ve been told that we are great, that we will change the world someday, but somewhere in the midst of all that, we’ve lost sight of it. One day we’ll all be doctors, lawyers, politicians, but what does that mean? What is so great about that? How will we change the world? We at The Student don’t know the answer; we wish we did, but we as a student body, as 1,700 people who want to change the world, should devote more time to thinking about that. What is greatness, and how will we get there?

Issue 03, Submitted 2010-09-22 01:37:19