With Spring Break’s arrival comes a multitude of feelings across the University of Minnesota’s twin cities campus:
“Good thing Spring Break is arriving, because I haven’t had a moment to breathe in weeks,” says the overachiever;
“I can’t wait to reward myself for my hard work,” says the student surprisingly content with her exam grades;
“I didn’t really need Spring Break to come, but then it started snowing again,” complain the Minnesotan students with the good fortune of temporarily escaping to a warmer place;
“Spring Break is already here? Yikes, I am not doing well enough to be halfway through,” many others worry.
Spring Break, however, does not just mark an opportunity to finally relax, celebrate, or whip oneself into shape in preparation for the following weeks. In fact, its presence indicates much more than that: Spring Break’s seemingly early arrival shows us how hard we work, how much we (even subconsciously) enjoy our time at our university, and most importantly, that we slowly but surely are surviving the “dreaded” 2017 calendar year as its first quarter nears its end.
The general public’s perpetually announced fear of 2017 came not from mere expectations of the year, but from the seeming downfall of the world in 2016. Between a plethora of celebrity and public figure deaths, ultimately culminating with Debbie Reynold’s tragic passing of grief over her daughter Princess Leia (aka Carrie Fischer)’s untimely passing away herself, most Americans could no longer take the constant goodbyes to role models and do-gooders alike. Even more so, the appalling and confusing Presidential Election of 2016 featured two of the most unpopular candidates of all time, and Donald Trump’s election, as a nonpolitician and controversial figure, came as a surprise to the political left and even a large number of Republicans: “How could this happen? Every single one of my friends and I continuously lobbied for Hillary,” said the overachiever;
“Wow, there’s finally Republican control in government!” exclaimed the student surprisingly content with the election results;
“Clinton was anticipated to win the election by a landslide, and now I’m terrified,” complained the liberal millennials unaware of the social desirability bias in polls;
“What will become of our [insert minority group here] community?” many others worried.
Despite the mixed reaction, 2017 brought with it the inauguration of President Trump who, despite receiving a hefty amount of both biased and unbiased criticism from the mainstream media, has not wreaked havoc just yet. Undocumented immigrants are still working hard, vetted refugees are still entering the country as arguably discriminatory bills are argued out, the LGBT community is still able to marry, and rightfully so, and President Trump has fortunately managed to denounce most of the unacceptable acts of hatred that have recently begun to overtake the nation’s news platforms.
Importantly, problems have arisen that must be dealt with: A recent increase of anti-Semitic acts, spanning from Jewish graveyards to even the University of Minnesota’s campus, has not yet been addressed. Despite this sickening, problematic, and outright shocking trend, we needn’t worry: 2017 has proven that the people will fight for what is right, do everything in our very capable power to prevent hate from persevering, and show the intolerant and uneducated folks behind these hateful actions that even if the president encourages this behavior (which he does not), the people of our country will not stand to endure it.
Following too many months of division and hateful rhetoric spanning the entire political spectrum, social solidarity in the United States is at a high unseen in quite some time: Lawyers quickly issued lawsuits against the president’s travel ban when they felt it presented problematic discrimination; Republicans and Democrats joined forces to condemn hateful acts of bigotry committed by both the right and the left; student bodies such as our own have become more aware and gradually less tolerant of dismissed sexual assault, and with its increased public attention over the years, stories of police brutality seem to be slowing in frequency.
After Donald Trump’s presidential election, a wide number of individuals expressed with frustration that things, “seriously could not become any less ideal.” If this was truly the case, our surprising tolerance for this year thus far is inevitable; once one hits rock bottom, the only direction to travel in is up.
“There is still so much more for us to do to improve the state of our nation in 2017,” might say the overachiever;
“Things aren’t perfect, but they sure are better than I anticipated from November to December of last year,” might exclaim the surprisingly content individual who exposes him or herself to balanced media sources;
“There are still too many hateful acts that never occurred before for me to consider this year a success,” complain the pacifists, idealists, and extremely empathetic Americans;
“And we’re only three months in,” many others might worry.
Surely, the bulk of 2017 still remains a blank canvas to draw upon, and tensions throughout our country certainly have not vanished. Yet, when looking at the calendar and seeing mid-March has already greeted us, we all have something to realize: Day by day and more quickly than we assumed, we are making it through, and while 2017 has brought challenges of its own (over which we will triumph), it also brought with it the promise of many new reasons to smile.
From all of us at the Minnesota Republic, enjoy your Spring Break!