“The Most Revolutionary Thing You Can Do Is To Study, And Study Hard “
Rev. Peter E. Bauer
Over forty years ago, there was a revolution at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J. The movement occurred in the Spring, and the budding bloom of the Wisteria in Princeton made for an idyllic environment for change. That year, there was a lot of concern for lack of representation of African-Americans and women on the seminary Board of Trustees. There was also concern at Princeton University about corporate investment in US corporations doing business in South Africa. The then Third World Center was active in protesting against the university financial holdings in companies that were profiting from the Apartheid system in South Africa.
I remember that I was involved in the protests. During the noon hour, several of us students would go over to then President Bowen’s house on the university campus and we would bang together metal garbage can lids to register our displeasure. There were more sophisticated demonstrations that occurred including a big event that occurred at the Woodrow Wilson School in Princeton. Even then CBS Journalist Dan Rather came down from New York to cover this event.
The advocacy work of that Spring paid off; the university divested of its corporate holdings in South Africa and the seminary began to work for full inclusion of women and African-Americans on the Board of Trustees. All during this time, I remember that I continued to study and work hard academically even though the activism involvement was tense.
We are now currently seeing a lot of student activism again manifesting in the Black Lives Matter, Income Inequality and other human rights movements. Like forty years ago, students are feeling torn between their academic commitments and a desire to correct injustice and to bring about change. Students are struggling with exhaustion trying to balance academic and activist pressures and in the process mental health needs are increasing. At Brown University, the following has been noted :
“There are people breaking down, dropping out of classes and failing classes because of the activism work they are taking on,” said David, an undergraduate whose name has been changed to preserve anonymity. Throughout the year, he has worked to confront issues of racism and diversity on campus.
His role as a student activist has taken a toll on his mental, physical and emotional health. “My grades dropped dramatically. My health completely changed. I lost weight. I’m on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills right now. (Counseling and Psychological Services) counselors called me. I had deans calling me to make sure I was okay,” he said.Schoolwork, advocacy place strain on student activistswww.browndailyherald.com/…/schoolwork-adv
While I empathize with these students regarding juggling the priorities of academics and activism, and the desire to work for a better world, I would argue that the most revolutionary thing that you can do is to study and to study hard, especially now that higher education is so unaffordable.
Again consider Brown University, who has produced distinguished alumni like the late John F. Kennedy Jr. and CNN Journalist Christiane Amanpour, the annual cost of education is:
Undergraduate tuition for academic year 2015-16: $48,272.
Room, board, and required fees: $12,700.
Total cost: $62,046.
Facts About Brown | Brown University https://www.brown.edu/about/facts
Considering the high financial cost and the inevitable need to obtain student loans to pay for school, I would want to get the most out of the educational experience. If you want to change the world, you have to have a job and resources.
I was fortunate. My seminary education was completely paid for by financial aid. I am grateful for the generosity of those who assisted me. My later graduate degree in Social Work was paid for out of my own pocket. However, I was working full time and tuition was affordable. If I had to do all of this now, in the present economic environment, I don’t think I would have made it. Thus, I commit myself to giving back to those who need assistance in gratitude for those who assisted me in my time of need.
The Beatles were right when John Lennon observed
” Say you want a revolution, yeah you know,
We all want to change the world “
But I still contend that if you want healthy and effective change for the world, you have to begin with providing and working for an effective future for yourself. The most revolutionary thing that you can do is to study and study hard.
May it be so.
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Source: Black Voices Huffington Post
Link: The Most Revolutionary Thing You Can Do Is To Study, And Study Hard