The Importance of Being In-the-Know

Cassie Follman '16, opinions editor

When I was in the seventh grade, my history teacher made us look up current events and write a short report about a specific one once a week. My classmates and I stumbled through accounts of wars we had only vague knowledge of and shocking reports of corruption in our government. My teacher wanted us to be aware of issues not only in our small community, but the world around us as well. I loved that aspect of class, I rarely knew much about the topic before a fellow classmate reported on it, and was infinitely interested in learning about the world through the news. As a result of that class, I developed an enthusiasm for checking the news nearly every day. However, I’ve found it much more difficult to have the time to spend time perusing news websites now that I am a Peddie student. I feel that it is my duty as a Peddie student to be knowledgeable about the world around me. After all, isn’t understanding and knowing about important issues one of the most vital aspects of achieving the highest quality of citizenship?

In the fall and winter terms, my English class was required to research the troublesome situation in Ferguson, the Garner case, and other similar events. I loved the emphasis on current events. This aspect in the classroom helped further the discussion of these events and also led to a greater understanding of the complicated events for myself. The assignment was a rare experience I have had at Peddie. I am extremely grateful for it, but I also wish that it wasn’t as uncommon throughout Peddie career. While it is difficult to discuss world issues during math class, I think that Peddie students should take more initiative to be informed and also should have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in the classroom.

Chapel frequently mentions tragedies to think about during the moment of silence, but these small reminders do not carry enough weight to have a profound influence on campus. Further, the development of the Current Events Club demonstrates that there is a desire for more involvement; however, as Peddie students shouldn’t we all be interested in knowing about current events around the world? Peddie cannot force anyone to stay informed, but I view understanding issues outside of my life as an important factor in becoming the well-balanced person that Peddie hopes to form.

At Peddie, it is easy to ignore problems that do not have a direct effect on one’s life. There is an unlimited number of things to occupy the little free time at Peddie, and usually it is not dedicated to reading news websites or taking the time to truly understand a complicated event. Maybe many feel they are incapable of factoring in time to read the news or don’t see how it relates to their life, or perhaps they simply don’t care. I want to challenge the sentiment that understanding conflicts throughout one’s county and around the world is viewed to have little importance. As Peddie students, it is our duty to attempt to learn about these issues, even when there is no clear ‘good’ or ‘evil.’ A distinguished interest in the world should be a major factor in a successful Peddie student. Without this, how are we any different from other students?