To be honest…with Chandler Eaton

To be honest, I think everyone needs to stop using “the struggle” to define their issues. I hear it said around William Jewell College’s campus constantly, and I don’t think many of us even know what “the struggle” really is. I understand that the term was originally a hyperbolic statement deriving from sarcasm, but lately I hear a lot of students use it as a way to complain about mundane personal problems without taking worldly perspectives into consideration. I’m not going to be hypocritical about this; I used to say “it’s the struggle” frequently, but one day the winds changed, and I realized how narrow minded I was being.

It appeared to be a day like any other. I was eating in the cafeteria and I overheard a mountain-of-a-football player say, “Ah man, I ate way too much food. It’s the struggle.” It was the ignorance of this statement that upset me.

“No, actually. The real struggle is that people in developing countries are starving to death because they don’t have food. How would they feel to hear you complain?” I said, in my internal monologue of course. Seeing as I am 5’5″ with the upper body strength of a prepubescent X-Box addict, the outcome of me in a fight with a football player would not be pretty.

However, I had an epiphany of sorts. We are living in a free country getting a superb education with plenty to eat on our plates. We have no clue what the struggle is. After that day, I began listening to my fellow students to observe how they defined “the struggle.”

Personal Problem from an unnamed student in the Pryor Learning Commons: I was awake until 6 a.m. watching “American Horror Story” and then slept through my physics class, but the show is so good! It’s a struggle.

Real Struggle: According to the International Labour Organization, an estimated 250 million children in developing countries between the ages of 5 and 14 are trapped in forced labor, often in sweatshops where they are denied an education and basic human rights. If they had the option to learn, they would not waste it or complain. Everyone dies in “American Horror Story” anyway, so go do your homework instead of watching Netflix.

Personal Problem from a first-year female: I literally get no guy’s attention here. The struggle is real and I’ll be alone forever.

Real Struggle: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported 1.2 million women and girls are trafficked into prostitution throughout India. Instead of complaining about guys, be thankful for your freedom. Girls trapped in sex slavery wish they didn’t receive the male attention that they do.

My goal is not to hate on my fellow students; rather, I am challenging everyone to widen their perspectives and limit their complaints. Every student at WJC has been blessed to receive an iPad this year, but are you using it to its full potential? You have gaming apps for when the lectures drone on, and you may even have the oh-so-classy Tindr in the hopes of finding a disease-free true love for the night, but how many informative news apps do you have? The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and The New Yorker are all free publications on the Newsstand app. Try reading an article every other day and see how your perspective changes. Hopefully you will see the real struggles of this world as a personal challenge to rise up and make a difference.

I know many people will continue to say “the struggle” just to spite me. I don’t mind because there are bigger problems in this world than immaturity. I just hope that the next time you say “the struggle” you appreciate the fact that you have freedoms and your biggest complaint is the caf food.

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