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Wake up and smell reality

Looking at the bright side of the latter half of a terrible year

Kenya%27s+environ%2Cemtal+pollution+diminishes+healthy+ecosystem+standards
Kenya's environ,emtal pollution diminishes healthy ecosystem standards

Kenya's environ,emtal pollution diminishes healthy ecosystem standards

Katelin Peterson

Katelin Peterson

Kenya's environ,emtal pollution diminishes healthy ecosystem standards

Katelin Peterson

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It’s finals week, and a round of applause is needed.  Teachers, students, and faculty, have survived the first semester in the big conversion. Sixteen weeks is here and it’s important to acknowledge all the hard work that has gone into this accomplishment.

Not only has this been a semester of learning and challenges, last month was filled with nonstop remarks and articles about our past election on Nov. 8.  Sociology major Tim Chen said, “I’ve been trying to still recover from this election.”

As difficult as it may be, it is imperative to be aware of the blessings of being an American. With the holidays coming up, friends and family get together to celebrate favored traditions and look back on a year of memories.

“My family gets together and celebrates Hanukkah, I look forward to seeing my grandparents each year,” said excited John Lewin, 23.

“My family dresses up like elves and deliver gift baskets to families that are in need. It helps lift my spirits each year that I am making a difference,” said business major Christina Lopez.

Sometimes, it’s hard to remember what’s truly important with constant materialistic distractions.  “I struggle with shopaholic tendencies around this time of year, too many emails popping up on my phone every hour, it’s hard to not spend my whole paycheck,” said Samantha Camry, 22.

I have been blessed to have two people in my life that have kept me grounded through all of America’s changes, and helped provide me with a different perspective.  Heading into finals and then into the holidays I would like to help ease our minds and share some of this perspective.

My parents are those two people, and they live in Nairobi, Kenya.  Most factory workers in that country work a month straight before receiving a day off.  They might receive a dollar a day for fourteen hours of work to provide millions of Americans with a temporary joy of a present for the holidays.  Most can agree that our society moves on rather quickly to the next best thing.  We are spoiled, whether we want to believe it or not. Whether it’s fashion or technology, most material items are no longer a fad by next year. Our month of joy, not only abuses third world countries but trashes them as well.

An hour outside of Nairobi, by a small river, foam eight inches high covers the whole surface.  Dead fish float on top, from the pollution that has killed them, as a small starving child is seen pulling fish out of the water so his family does not starve.

Our trials are minimal compared to other countries that are scared where their next meal is going to come from.  When we get hungry we have so many selections to overwhelm ourselves with, that we have trouble making up our minds.

My mother reminded me about how lucky we truly have it.  “The election was difficult, but you are able to cope with your opinions and freedom to vent.  In third world countries, you put yourself in danger when you speak your mind.  Education here in Kenya is few and far between; you are receiving a valuable college education in which you have an opportunity to better yourself.  Appreciate the good, and the bad won’t seem so dreadful,” my mother said.  I believe it’s a good reminder for all of us.

We need to take pride in our freedom to speak. We may upset someone and have someone un-friend us on Facebook, but our lives are not at stake.  In other countries, not just Kenya, your life is at stake if you speak an opposing view from your government.  How would it feel to not be allowed to express yourself?

On that note, face your final exams with a smile. Remember that you are bettering yourself and your future. Good luck and have a wonderful holiday.

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Wake up and smell reality