At home, I would sit in the living room with my parents as they tracked through every news channel, and was consequently up-to-date on the current state of world. In my dorm, I’ve got a Netflix subscription and no television. I didn’t really feel as though I was missing anything until I began volunteering with middle-school students this semester, and I realized that they knew way more than I did about the Syrian Refugee Crisis. I mean, I’d seen various updates sprint across my screen while on Facebook in class, and I’d read all of the Humans of NY posts. I had working knowledge of what was happening “over there,” but when I was nodding at what middle schoolers were telling me and making mental notes to “check on that later,” I knew I was out of touch.
College is a bubble, regardless of how often we’re told it broadens the mind. Ethical codes do often get looser, but we become absorbed with the issues that have the loudest advocates. Small cases, or even cases that aren’t immediately present in our lives, can get ignored. We’re taught to make arguments, be respectful, and to avoid anything that may upset anyone. But all of this is based on working knowledge, based on what we already know. We’re so caught up in learning about history and theory that often we don’t get the chance to actually look at how these things affect our society.
We trick ourselves into thinking we’re informed by procrastinating with Facebook pop-ups and with poorly shot amateur videos with misspelled captions that are endlessly shared on the internet. If your main news source is Buzzfeed or The Odyssey, something needs to change. We have zero time as BC students. Between sleep, homework, class, clubs, and waiting in horrifyingly long lines at dining halls, there’s barely enough time to read that email from IM Leagues, no less countless articles about the world. But If we plan on moving into the world as a generation to change it and make it better, we need to be informed.
So watch the Presidential Debates, which are usually screened by Eagle Political Society, Boston College Republicans and Boston College Democrats right here on campus. They’re actually pretty entertaining outside of the politics (which I for one enjoy). Put ten powerful and strong willed politicians in front of a large group of people and ask them questions that they don’t want to answer, and you’ve either got a Presidential Debate or a middle school pissing match. The 2016 Presidential Election is dawning fast and Trump is getting the most attention because his outlandish statements are making people laugh.
Pull away from the “listicles” about the “Ten Crazy Things that Trump Has Said,” and look at each candidate’s policy points. And because nobody has time to read a million articles, check out OnTheIssues.org. It lists every candidate for the primaries for both parties and breaks down their policies issue by issue, citing their stance and their past actions on the matter chronologically and in a concise manner.
Or sign up your email for theSkimm. After hearing about it from friends who have incorporated the email service into their daily routine, I finally signed up and I love it. The creators of theSkimm read all the current news for you so you only read a quick update in your inbox that takes at most five minutes. The daily email blast includes easy-to-read information on everything from politics to business to social issues to sports. And if there’s a story or issue that you’re not completely clear on but you’re seeing a lot of media coverage of it (like the Syrian Refugee Crisis *cough cough*), you can find “guides” on theSkimm’s website that give you background information and go over the main points quickly.
I’m obsessed with the News app that comes with the new iOS update for iPhones. If we’re being honest, half of you are probably reading this on an iPhone right now. The News app is awesome. When you first open it, you choose the different publications you like to read, what kind of stories you like to read, and all of a sudden you have a personalized News feed. The more you read, the more the app knows about your preferences and can show you more stories you like. You can explore specific publications, search keywords, and even look at genres like “Recipes” or “Entertainment,” if that’s your thing. The best feature of the app is the “Save” feature. If you see an article you might be interested in reading, but definitely don’t have time to scroll through on your trip to the bathroom during class, you can save the story to your list and go back later to read it when you have time. I’ve found myself checking the app just as much as Instagram at this point, if only because there’s always something new to see and I definitely procrastinate a lot.
Finally, read The Rock. Our writers and editors put hours into writing articles on current events and they are always amazing. We’ve got a ton of resources in our hands. It’s time we use them.