Imagine this: You receive a notification that you must report to basic military training as soon as possible — but this modern-day draft isn’t for a war with Vietnam. Instead, the country needs young people to combat extremists overseas. Suddenly, you have to put future plans on hold and risk your life while working towards a greater good.
While this situation isn’t likely to occur, talks of reinstating the military draft for those 18 and older have been suggested with the rising power of ISIS. Unfortunately, the 45 percent of young adults who don’t read the news would be taken completely by surprise, not only by forced military entry, but by the array of current events plastered on all forms of media they miss daily. While it may be a big adjustment, keeping up with local and nationwide current events could be the difference between continued ignorance and massive change.
Being aware forces you to question things, especially wrongdoing that is seen as the norm. Critical thinking helps people formulate their own opinions and stances, which is key with elections coming up. It is the responsibility of a citizen to be informed about issues and candidates, rather than simply vote along party lines. Even in the workforce, young professionals who know more than their social networking feed categorically impress employers.
Most of all, students should keep up with news because, as cheesy as it sounds, we control the future. The wrongs discovered and reported today don’t have to exist — the entire purpose of informing the public is to stop them. If we can’t recognize offenses, how are we supposed to keep them from happening again? Police brutality could be at an all-time low. Snapchat users could know the app’s vulnerability to hackers. Who knows, maybe we could shake things up enough to help fellow Hong Kong students in their attempts to hold free elections.
College students are overwhelmed with studying, work and the harsh realities of adulthood already, but taking action to better society can only happen when you recognize the issues at hand. Take a few minutes each day to read stories from multiple sources, or at least the headlines if time is scarce. Use resources and organizations on campus to find the issues you’re passionate about and make an impact. After all, the actions of an informed few have the potential to help the lives of many.
Griffin is a journalism freshman from Houston. Follow her on Twitter @JazmynAlynn.