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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Complaints about complaining

Published: October 18, 2013
Section: Opinions

I tend to complain about things. I usually use this space to complain about a lot of things, and they are typically petty things. I am not particularly proud of the subject matter I have chosen; I could write about more pressing issues and more important ideas. But generally, I complain. And now I will complain about complaining.

Walking around campus, I pick up on a lot of things. I think of myself as being pretty observant, and it is difficult to not overhear different conversations. And a lot of what I hear is complaining in the plainest form. Most of the time it is about a class, professor or grade to which the students take great offense. Other times, it falls into the middle school drama category—relationships, what someone did when they were drunk, etc. And it is not just random conversations I hear. My friends do the same thing. Old friends from high school typically take to Facebook to rant about how much work they have to do and how much their life sucks, too.

It seems to be such a common disease of proclaiming how much school or life just stinks in the middle of an all-nighter, studying for an orgo test the next day. I do not think it is fair at all for students to make that claim when they are not by any means forced to go to college. I understand that societal pressures since birth have told us we need to go to college to succeed, but if we are just going to complain about it, then maybe we need to reconsider our priorities. And I do not think it is fair to whoever is paying our tuition for us to complain about what it is being used for. I know my father is making a lot of sacrifices for me to attend a school like this, and I want to make every effort to show him I appreciate it.

To complain that a class is unfair or is just too much work is a bit unfair to the professors. While they might have lost a bit of their social graces and common sense during the years they’ve spent devoted to their field, they are still some of the smartest people we will meet. I feel that the professors I have are really good at their jobs, which is why we pay so much in tuition, and are extremely devoted to the advancement of their students. To whine about a certain assignment is just throwing that devotion back in their face, especially if you do not take advantage of all of the different ways they can help, and they want to help. Even the university as an institution wants to see its students succeed, and it is unfair to the school, having accepted and entrusted students with the confidence that we will succeed.

I have taken some classes at a community college in the past, and the professors here are more dedicated to their students by leaps and bounds. Even though they are two very different schools with different goals, the difference in the quality of the staff is crystal clear when looking at Brandeis. Between having class canceled after a professor does not show without notice, to having a professor use a student’s car to get around, community college professors might not be the most professional academics. But here, they generally care and want their students to do their best. We owe it to them to try before putting up a protest.

Maybe I am just misinterpreting others’ words. What I take as a complaint could actually just be an acknowledgment of a fact. College is hard and things might not work out in our favor. Sometimes, it is perfectly normal to vent about our stresses so that they do not build up within us, waiting to explode. And if there were nothing to complain about, life would be terribly boring. Complaints usually mean conflict, and conflict makes the world go round, so complaining is completely natural. But it might not be natural to have a completely derogatory view of everything that happens.

We are receiving one of the most valuable resources in life—an education. We should be a bit more grateful for what exactly that means and how much better our lives will be if we are willing to put in some long nights and hard work in the present. Life is unfair, and the hardest thing we will ever face, but everyone has these difficulties, and whining and moaning about it to our friends and parents will not solve anything. I believe that we can get so much more out of life if we take the time to just realize how lucky we are to be afforded the opportunities we have been given.