by Shrey Regmi, UWCM
March 20th, 2018
[aesop_content color=”#000000″ background=”#ffffff” component_width=”600px” columns=”1″ position=”none” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” disable_bgshading=”off” floaterposition=”left” floaterdirection=”up” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]How do we become a greater political force? Many articles call for students to pick up their megaphones and hit the streets, but I would like to do the opposite, because I believe that we tend to hinder our progress towards becoming a significant political force when we undermine those who study because we believe that at UWC we only educate one type of “changemaker.”
The stigma around having or not having the “UWC spirit” is partially to blame for our incompetency- It is as if we are almost scared that we might be called out for not being a typical UWCer when we aren’t present at all communal events even though the reason for our absence may be that we have an essay to finish which was due weeks ago. We are very quick on our feet to complain about that kid who locks him or herself in the study room twelve hours a day – because he or she shouldn’t be at a UWC for academics but rather to become a “changemaker.”
It is becoming apparent to me that in this “ideal UWC” that we are trying to reach, there exists only one type of changemaker. It is the kind of changemaker who is an idealistic individual ready to take down standing systems and structures. I can’t help to disagree with this single notion of change making. I believe that the student who studies in his or her room to become a scientist so that he or she can break the mould and become the first in the family to go to college is a changemaker. The student who studies rigorously, goes to a brilliant university, and becomes a CEO is equally a changemaker. As long as these students go on with genuine passion for their efforts, and their actions encompass most of our values, such as compassion and celebration of diversity, I believe we have succeeded.
That said, I agree that if we want to see positive change in our world, we must fight much harder than merely sharing our values. But how can we do it effectively? I believe we have been stuck on the bottom-up approach – an approach that focuses on igniting the many through activism and grassroots movements – for way too long and a re-visit is long due. Let us not forget that many of us were granted the privilege of receiving a UWC education based on being bright, academically competent individuals who shared the UWC ideals. Why are we, now, choosing one over the other? We aim for brilliance but seem overly eager to settle for mediocracy. I would encourage all UWCers to be wholly participating with what happens within our community, but also emphasize that our involvement shouldn’t come at the expense of our academic goals.
If we need to put in a few extra hours working instead of going to community time because that’s how we can reach our goals, then so be it. The path I would advise you to take would be to refrain from having such tones of detriment within our bubble. I would advise you to aim to be top-tier in whatever you chose to do. If you wish to focus on academics, then go ahead and challenge yourself academically, not because of the education you might have later, but rather the knowledge that you will obtain along the way. I believe, that to bring about great and effective change in the world, UWC needs alumni in high positions of power, be it in politics, science or any other field. We should not undermine those who focus academically, because, realistically, those students are likely to someday reach positions where their sphere of influence is strong and broad enough for them to share the UWC values of compassion and celebration diversity effectively.
The Flying Dutchman team consists of UWC students aiming to reflect the news relevant to the people engaged with the UWC movement.