I think I’ve resolved to make this year as much of a sustained educational/intellectual experience as I can, which means a certain measure of deliberation and self-centeredness in how I spend my time beyond classes and course readings. After all, anything I gain in a ‘horizon-broadening’ sense won’t be actionable for a while. That’s one of the things that sucks about being young and professionally unqualified! That all said, there is something I still miss about the undergraduate life of extracurriculars; it was nice to have structure of the type that membership in those activities offered, and an opportunity to engage in community service as well. So, we’ll see– I might be back here in a few weeks talking about my latest volunteering gig.
This week I went to a protest march in support of allowing more refugees into the country. It was an early morning, chilly walk led by a band of various local activists through the shopping district, and I waved a balloon around and got a handful of people to sign a petition. This country is not really at the front-line of refugee migration into Europe in the sense that it’s not one of the countries that refugees fleeing the Middle East, North/East Africa and South Asia end up in immediately after making landfall. However that’s not to say that there aren’t thousands upon thousands waiting to be allowed into the country. It just puts into perspective how ridiculous the government’s rhetoric about descending swarms of people is in comparison to the facts at their borders. The policy accompanying the rhetoric has also been totally morally bankrupt. Overall, this demonstration was a heartening example of many people’s disgust with their government’s behavior on this issue and their willingness to take action on a volunteer basis if needed. As for me, I enjoyed the experience, but nevertheless I feel that this type of activism– the marching, sign waving type– is not really my cup of tea? I wouldn’t do it on a sustained basis. It’s not that I don’t find it valuable– I do, incredibly so– but I don’t count myself among the personality types who can make a significant difference in policy or social opinion via this method. I’m much more suited to working in a sort of non-profit setting that specializes in service-production to the disadvantaged and/or structured advocacy via the media, which I got a taste of as an undergraduate and hope to continue doing. There are so many facets to activist work; protest is just the most visible.