We are told to “think beyond the possible” as students of Case Western Reserve University. “Think” is the keyword there. Thinking is great and all, but doing is what causes change. We, as undergraduates, always tout what we have at our disposal when talking about our university. However, as a student (and soon to be graduate) I can attest to the flipside of that, which is that we are also really good at complaining. We complain about the actions of the university, the state of buildings, the way the administration handles certain events and more. Complaining is a natural form of venting, a stress reliever for us as humans.
But I want you to take a minute to step back and consider some of the changes you think should be implemented. Has anything come of them during your time here as an undergraduate? When you graduate will all you have to show for your time here be a list of classes and numbers earned in them? Or will you have more, such as projects or initiatives that you can point to and say: “I did that”. What I’m getting at is that you, as an undergraduate, have more power than you are led to believe.
If you truly believe in something, there is nothing stopping you from accomplishing it. If you scoffed at that last line or think I’m wrong, I challenge you to bear with me and hear me out. I understand that CWRU is full of opportunities, activities and, on top of all else, classwork. I challenge you to think about what truly matters in life to you. I challenge you to take on your goals, whatever they may be, and see them through. Grades only truly matter to a select number of people. By and large, they serve as an excuse and hold you back from what really matters. I’m not saying to disregard them, but I am saying to look past them.
Let’s tilt the perspective a bit. You are paying a large sum of money, in some form or another, to attend this university. But here is the thing: If the university is not serving your needs, then why are you paying all that money? Simply put, you pay the university to provide you with the amenities and experiences you expect it to have. This might mean a real student center, an amazing ballroom with hardwood floors that is structurally stable, more housing options or just more spaces around campus. Now, I ask you again, what is stopping you from accomplishing your goals and tackling the problems you see?
For those of you that need a right or wrong answer, the right answer is nothing. With enough motivation and energy, you can lead whatever change you see fit. Don’t wait for your “representative” student government to care about you or read your mind. They won’t; they have their own biases and priorities, and, I’m sorry to inform you, you aren’t a part of them. Don’t expect the administration to read your mind and know what you want either because the truth is they simply don’t care about the individual. They care about the majority.
You want to lead change? Then find your majority and make noise. State your case and don’t let up. You will find road blocks along the way, and that is when you truly need to “think beyond the possible.” People will tell you things like “no,” “we can’t” or “there isn’t budget for that.” What those statements really mean is “not now” or “give me a good reason why.” It means “maybe in the future, so don’t let up.” Creating change requires you to challenge the status quo, to not back down and to question why something is the way it is. Being told “because … ” or “it’s always been … ” are never good enough. The old adage “if there is a will, there is a way” applies extremely well here.
You are all smart young adults, and whether it is now or later in life, you will have to do this sort of thing. Take your trial run now when you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Not later down the line when you have everything to lose and only a little to gain. Stop “thinking” beyond the possible, and start doing.