Something struck me this week.
With everything going on in life—homework, editing, drama, learning to budget like an adult—I’ve been getting worked up a lot. I let things such as my upcoming graduation and a friend’s slightly insensitive social media post keep me up at night. I watched people bicker over relatively menial problems that seemed vital at the time, and I felt like my Phoenix deadlines were the end of the world.
And then something struck me. A 19-year-old Loyola student was shot a week and a half ago.
She was shot in an area I’ve been to more than a few times. Why have I not been more worked up about that? Why have we not been more worked up about that?
I take so much for granted—maybe we all do. We feel appalled for a day that a student was hurt, then we move on. I now realize how disappointing this is, how sad it is that I can be more bothered by day-to-day drama than real danger and violence, that I care more about things that don’t really matter than the well-being of a fellow student. Maybe I don’t know her, and looking back, I didn’t know Mutahir Rauf. But I should still care more. We all should. We should care that two students were shot in a 13-month span. We should care that it could happen again. And we really should care for more than one week.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the small stuff. It’s easy to let what we are temporarily passionate about get in the way of our humanity and concern for each other. We cannot lose our empathy. As a young generation on the cusp of leading the world, it’s important to take a step back, realize we all have something in common and care.
Life is about more than us as individuals. It’s about us together. It’s time Ramblers stepped up. This school is full of passionate people, activists and entrepreneurs. The 16,000 students here have the power to create a lot of change, but it all starts with coming together (as cliche as it sounds). It’s time we realize we are not just part of a school but part of a community. And more importantly, it’s we actually mean it. We’re taught about the Loyola, the Jesuit, the Rogers Park and Gold Coast communities the entire time we are here. How many people actually feel that sense of connection? Because everyone should.
It should be more than just our degrees or the colors of maroon and gold that connect us. We owe it to Mutahir and the student shot the other week. We owe it to ourselves.