The written word is a powerful thing and in this super-social-digital world that we are in, words spread fast. Videos are clickable, viral. Tweets are retweeted, liked, shared, sent. Impressions reach 1 million. Facebook posts get shared, emailed, messaged.
Recently, I read a WordPress blog from a newly graduated senior, and she/he seems to be very disappointed with her education she received at my alma mater, bashing things like parking, food, lack of clubs, mean people in the Bursars office.
This post spread fast on Facebook. I saw all my friends sharing it. I saw my friends get angry, cheer. I saw strangers share, share, share.
The reason I am writing back to this letter is not because I was that in love with my university. But, it’s been a year since I’ve graduated, and I realize, I do love my university. I love that I was able to get an education, no matter how many problems I had while I was attending (ie: Lack of student newspaper).
When you get out into the real world, you realize how truly special getting an education is. Of course, I do believe society needs to address many issues in higher education, especially the fact that the average student leaves college with $37,172 in debt (2016 statistic), but I just have realized that it takes more effort to be angry, than to be happy and try to make a difference. Standing up for what you believe in is no easy task, so if being angry and anonymous is easier for you, by all means, take that stand.
I chose, at my alma mater, to use the power of the written word to make a difference.
To this day, I am still doing just that.
Here is my response to diaryofasciencekidd (I chose not to link to the blog):
After seeing this all over social media, I’ve been wondering if I should comment or just choose not to get involved. After seeing this post again come up, I decided, why not? There are numerous problems that need to be addressed at the school, that cannot be argued, but to write out petty problems like parking and staff members being mean only makes DelVal seem like a place where children graduate, and remain children. I really do not support this letter, mostly because I think you poorly articulated some of the real issues at DelVal, and I think you could have used the power of the written word to your advantage, to perhaps actually make a change.
I for one, during the four years I attended DelVal, actually tried to address some of these problems. I went to administration, had meetings, met with the president and several deans for problems that I wanted to see solved. This took many weeks, months, and years of planning, emails, sweat and tears, frustration, and hard work.
Did all of these problems get solved? Not really, no. But, I made myself seen and heard and tried to make a difference. I too have written posts and blogs and letters expressing my concern for things–things that I wanted to see change for the future of DelVal students. I saw a lot of other students do the same thing. The processes were long, the battles were long, and the stress trying to make a difference is indescribable.
I wanted to make one response to your comment: “Most important one: why don’t you listen to your students? We have a lot to say and we never get heard.” — Perhaps we never had a chance to be heard because we don’t go about it in the right ways. I am not too sure what your background is or your history with DelVal may be. Perhaps you did try to make a change only to be shot down. For that, I would say I am sorry that you had to deal with this. But, nowhere in this angry letter do I see anything from you where you tried to make an actual difference.
My privilege might have been different from your privilege. You might have been more privileged, or maybe it was me. My college experience certainly wasn’t like any other individual at the university. Not you, not my friends, not anyone. All experiences are different, but while we can’t change everything, it’s important to show future students that they do have the power to at least try to stand up and make a difference. It’s not easy.
Also — it’s quite a shame to see yet again another person bashing the liberal arts department. I graduated with a liberal arts degree, I got a job right out of college in New York…with my “not so great liberal arts degree from DelVal.” I was less fortunate and could only afford to go to DelVal instead of one of the “better” liberal arts colleges because I had to commute to school, my mother only works part time, and my dad was laid off from work. I don’t regret it because I had a great mentor(s), Dr. O’Connor to name one, and I made some amazing friends along the way who helped me even through some of the most stressful times. Shame on you for discrediting someone’s program, which you are not a part of, and shame on you for putting down some of the great professors that work in the liberal arts department. You are incorrect in saying that DelVal is trying to make it a liberal arts school. The school is just trying to grow, it will never lose its love for agriculture and science. Ever. But you will never know how much support the liberal arts department still needs, how much funding is still needed, and how the people in that department do everything in their power to give those liberal arts students the best education they can get.
Additionally, I found it amusing that you wrote this post anonymously, for two reasons. One: If you wrote this and signed your name, I can imagine you would have a very difficult time getting a job out of college, seeing as you bashed your alma mater after a few days of graduating. Maybe you skipped the class where we learned how to prepare for the real world (perhaps you were too busy being angry?) Two: It would be easier for the marketing department to find who you are and send you a cease and desist letter for using the school’s logo improperly. You should consider that.
Finally, I will not say that I left DelVal completely satisfied. I would have loved to see a few changes made during my four years there. Anyone else commenting saying they agree, you should consider trying to make a difference. That’s just my advice. It takes more effort to be angry than to try and enjoy life. I wish I would have told myself that sooner.
But, I know that I at least tried to make a difference, and that brings me some comfort, and I know it brings people at the school comfort. I hope that you too will find some comfort, and perhaps, this slam letter will do for now.
Madison M. Moore
Media and Communication ’15
Delaware Valley University