Our Silence is Deafening


As the fall semester at Chaffey continues to swing into full gear I am greeted with something that happens every year and yet, every year, I find myself surprised by it. In some sort of unwritten rule book it appears that every professor has to start class with some exercise that forces students to interact and engage with each other. Sometimes it is a quick blurb about who you are. Other times it is a scavenger hunt to find those in your class who have some somewhat random characteristics.


Whatever that exercise looks like, I hate it. Why did I take this class? Well, more likely than not because I want credits and I couldn’t get into the class I wanted, yay community college. Obviously I would never say that so instead I sit in silence. Glorious, self-serving silence. I don’t want to come across as rude but I care about the material and how it is presented than I do the one presenting it. Sure, most professors are not only nifty but also neat. That said, we aren’t going to become friends. We are going to coexist in the symbiotic relationship that is teacher/student.

This equation will never change. Teacher teach, student learns, world gets better or something. What may change though is the thing we all overlook when we just sit silent. There is a reason why it is easier to sit silent, speaking expos us. It leaves us vulnerable and delicate.

As I browsed Twitter today I came across a retweet that made me feel wrong. Not in the sense that I had done something wrong but rather that I could do so many things that are right and yet I do nothing.

Not saying something really is the same thing as agreeing with what others are saying around you. Certainly sitting silent in a 9:30am Pysch class isn’t the same as ignoring the absolutely disgusting treatment of people in other countries, or even in our own for that matter, but it does make it easier to get comfortable just doing nothing. As I research what is happening to the Kurdish people I am stunningly more moved by the hashtag than the picture. Words matter.

What is that thing people say about pictures? A picture is worth a thousand words? The currency here is still words. Words are powerful. Dang you professors and your icebreakers; if I actually paid attention I would’ve already learned something that can change everything.

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