Negativity, blame abound in students

College years are the most precious years in a person’s life. The freedom and energy of college make it exciting and pose new challenges every day. But have a conversation with someone at Tech, and nine times out of ten, one hears something negative, whether it’s about how awful a professor is or how difficult classes for someone’s major is or how hard it is to find an interesting girl or how terrible the Stinger service is, the list goes on.

Since I came to Tech five years ago, I have always been puzzled to hear peers speak this way. Yes, being a student here is stressful and being in an environment with an imbalanced ratio makes it worse, but why does it matter whose major is harder or who is smarter? The point is, it’s difficult for everyone, so what’s the point of beating the same drum again and again?

Recently, the Technique published an article that took a humorous look on the desirability of different majors based on the Focus theme of romance for that week. Being an engineering major myself as well as the Focus editor, I didn’t think it was inappropriate or in bad taste. However, I would still like to apologize to those who were offended.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but what I found rather upsetting was the personal attack that was launched against the writer on online communities by some. It is very easy to sit behind computer screens and anonymously air opinions and cry foul, but it takes courage to come forth and voice an opinion out in the open.

Through this editorial, I do not intend to fight for the integrity and value of that article, but instead want to point out something deeper. To me, the response we received showed a deep-rooted frustration among the students. As I mentioned earlier, most students go through Tech highly stressed, and in an environment such as this, it is easy to blame and pick on others at the smallest slip. Students will defend their majors with honor and be the first to mock others who are unlike them.

When I took HPS 1040, there was a lesson we learned that I think applies very well to students here. The professor taught us about one’s locus of control, the theory in psychology that refers to what people believe is responsible for events that affect them. People with an internal locus of control believe things are in their control and take responsibility for their actions and circumstances. People with an external locus of control tend to blame others for the negative things that happen to them.

A major aspect of college life is the social interaction between genders, and, unfortunately, this is seriously lacking at this school. I don’t just mean romantic relationships, but the overall interaction between men and women that leads to a better understanding of oneself. Hanging out with one another is key to the development of soft skills and communicating with those of the opposite sex is paramount for personal growth. We here at Tech have a very warped understanding of the ratio. Most are introduced to it as a terrible problem and continue to resent it throughout college.

Both girls and guys are to blame equally. While girls do abuse the fact that there are twice as many guys and are quick to find faults in them, Guys don’t do themselves any favors either by being awkward and disrespectful in front of girls. Truth be told, both sides want to interact on many levels, but are too afraid to step outside the box to seek a fitting companionship.

Basically, what I am getting at is that students at Tech take themselves a little too seriously. Whether it is not respecting others’ opinions or not being appreciative of those who work hard to make this campus a better place or being miserable about the lack of choices, many Tech students are always looking for a scapegoat.

The Tech education gets to everyone and we unknowingly say or do things that can be hurtful. We are all students at the same institute and would find the existence much more fruitful if we took time to understand different perspectives and differing opinions, same sex or not. Take time off from school work every week, even if it’s only a few hours. Hang out with people from different backgrounds, different majors and different interests and see what they are all about. Most importantly, as William Ward once said, “Before you speak, listen. Before you write, think. Before you criticize, wait.”