Allie_HeymannI fear apathy. I truly do.

Last week, I was walking to White-Gravenor Hall, and in typical springtime fashion, the campus was alive with an abundance of activity. GUGS was out grilling, student grou
ps peppered the lawn, music was playing and conversation mingled pleasantly with the warm, damp sky. I remember a nice, light breeze blowing softly across the red bricks. In that moment, any observer could have sworn that life was perfect. The beautiful spread of cherry blossoms. The unrealistically good smells permeating the air. The joy. That sheer joy.

It was almost disgustingly serene. And in the midst of the bustle, I was gripped by a nauseating feeling of complete and utter unhappiness. Apathy had managed to claw its way through all of the delight to wrap its long fingers around my ribs. It was as if the oxygen was being drained from my lungs, as if I had gotten punched without warning in the gut. I stood there in the middle of Red Square, feeling panicked as it dawned on me that I had simply stopped caring about school.
We pay a significant amount of money to attend Georgetown. From tuition to meal plans and amenities, the privilege of living on the Hilltop is not cheap. It is an opportunity that only a few fortunate individuals are given.

In doing direct monetary calculations for credit hours, it is nearly unfathomable how much our education costs. Every time I miss class or fail to grasp concepts during lecture, I feel a sense of dread that I have wasted valuable time and money.

But the most overwhelming feeling of discomfort stems from sitting in a seminar and simply not caring. It branches from counting the hours and minutes until section ends. It comes from the nonchalance of writing a polished, proofread and absolutely brilliant bulls – – t paper. These instances are manifestations of academic apathy.

Like many students, I am occasionally struck by a feeling of paralyzing self-doubt. I get nervous about the future. I compare myself to my peers and feel the acute pressures of “measuring up.” I slack. Yet, it is the moments of apathy that scare me most; they are not mental blocks or physical hindrances, but rather emotional disconnections from school. I worry that in such an intense educational arena, these types of gaps are unacceptable. To exacerbate these woes, I feel as though I am fighting doubly hard because of my gender — people claim that being a woman means I have something to prove.

It’s the last week of school. And I think that I checked my academic emotions at the door a few days ago. I have a STIA research paper to write, an IPOL paper to finish, an accumulation of environmental ethics readings to do, Arabic grammar that makes partial sense and six entire chapters of econ that I have simply failed to understand in their full capacity. Things are grim over here. The apathy is rampant.

But here’s the kicker: Apathy is not the end of the world. I think I realized about three hours ago that I have an academic passion running to my very core. As I am writing this, I am hanging out with one of my oldest Georgetown friends, a boy who lived down the hall from me in Darnall freshman year. We have been sitting here eating ice cream and talking about climate science for two hours, the pitches of our voices getting progressively higher as we argue about false information campaigns. We’ve been researching, we’ve been digressing, we’ve been writing. And we’ve been sharing ideas and interests in the coolest, most organic way possible: conversation.

I fear academic apathy. I fear wasting valuable resources. Yet, I have realized that I am not truly apathetic; I am mute.

Here at Georgetown, I am surrounded by a collection of brilliant minds, diverse personalities and varying opinions. I want to discuss the things I don’t understand. I want to debate until the sun disappears from the sky. I want to engage others in my interests and I want to bask in the simple joy of interaction. The apathy I feel? It comes from a lack of time to talk with others and to share passions out loud.

Truth be told, apathy is in silence. So start talking.

Allie Heymann is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. This is the final appearance of THROUGH THE GLASS CEILING this semester.

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