The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

Bursting the Bubble: Wake Up Arcadia


Arcadia High School’s (AHS) campus is a lively place. In the span of a day, I heard students blasting Taylor Swift’s newest tracks from The Tortured Poets Department, fawning over a local cafe’s boba sticker giveaway, and gossiping about prom. Nothing unusual. 

But, then I remembered what I had read that morning in The New York Times. About the milestone 30,000 Palestinians killed, the two-year anniversary of the Russian-Ukraine war, and the subsequent student-led activism—the college protests, encampments, and violent removals of said encampments. Everywhere. USC. Columbia. Yale. NYU. George Washington University. UCLA.

Yet, not here. Strange.

I’m old enough—and young enough—to recall what 2020 did to my isolated yet vocal classmates. In eighth grade, I had just entered the vast realm of social media with the creation of my Instagram account.  My world suddenly jumped from small to enormously large…global, even. I saw how students were using social media to advocate for what they believed in. Black squares, boycott ____ hashtags, GoFundMe links. When Roe was overturned, I saw posts of classmates attending the rallies. When the Monterey Park shooting devastated those in our community, I saw classmates’ footage from the vigils. It felt like a secret movement for social change. Though I wasn’t always aligned with everyone’s opinions, simply seeing others speak out made me feel proud to be young. I felt inspired, empowered, a change-maker. 

The current state of higher-ed campuses has confused me. I won’t comment on personal opinions regarding the global-political state of the world in this issue—I may very well do so in a future article—but I would like to comment on what’s been going on at AHS. Which is, to say, nothing. There are no petitions, no calls to get students informed. When school shootings punctured our school year, related student groups, to my humble outside observer’s eyes, did little. I hear about major world events—Ukraine’s invasion—through my Gov teacher’s passing remarks. Things are happening in the world. Big, big things. While I imagined our campus to be aware and spirited, I’ve seen none of it on campus nor on my extensive social media feed. What happened? Why does it feel like no one cares?

It reminds me of a meme, if one should call it that, I saw recently. It was a digitally stitched edit of celebrities at the Met Gala (we’re all familiar with it!) juxtaposed with sinewy malnourished Palestinian children. The caption likened the celebrity sentiment of the Israel-Palestinian War to The Hunger Games. I thought of my classmates, scrolling their meme-occupied, celebrity populated social media feeds. Their disengagement regarding current events. Their absence of interest in lieu of the abundance of information. And I couldn’t have agreed more with the Hunger Games comparison.

My exasperation might be an overstatement. I, like many others, prefer to grieve, cry, fret in private. Social media fuels anger by giving us a not-so-private space to vent our worries and opinions. Yet, there’s some value to being knowledgeable about current events, and more so in expressing opinions. 

As I write this, I find myself resisting the urge to be political. But, frankly, there is no way to address the issue of being vocal without being political. But there is a way to be political without being obstinate. There can be politics without violence. Through my experiences, I’ve realized that Arcadia fears this. We strive to create this perfect learning environment where activities abound and school spirit never falters. Seniors know especially well the personal struggles we all endured during the earlier part of the year. Planning for our futures, in of itself, is a task daunting to the individual. God forbid any mention of the diplomatic stability of the world! 

As a journalist, I feel partly responsible. I spent my writing career expecting to follow trailblazers, documenting people who were infinitely cooler and more outspoken than I am. Perhaps my mentality is part of the problem. Rather than BE the change, I’ve settled for supporting louder voices. But what happens when there is no louder voice?

That’s why I’m calling for AHS students to wake up. I want high schoolers to open their eyes. There’s more to our world than TikTok trends. Or spicy chip challenges. Or celebrity break-ups. 

There’s a world outside that matters. It’s filled with problems, issues, pain. But it’s also filled with so many minds with infinitely many solutions. You, the young, the brave, the bold, are the change. So stay informed. Strike up a conversation with someone who knows a thing or two about things. Learn what you can and, when you’ve learned enough, say something. Better yet, do something about it. 

Graphic Courtesy of CAITLYN CHAU

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Arcadia Quill Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *