Stepping into Reality

I’ve been a student at Murray State for going on seven semesters. Meaning, I’ve essentially lived in Murray, Kentucky on and off for about three years. That’s a long time – more than enough time to get to know the area and community within Murray, one might say.

Photo by Murray State and used here with Creative Commons license.

Photo of Murray State and used here with Creative Commons license.

So why was it so hard for me to think of things VoiceBox Media could write about here? Why did the possible topics for solutions journalism pieces seem so few and far between?

Here’s my conclusion: we live in the world we want to live in.

We don’t see what’s really happening around us. We walk through life with blinders on, focused on things that usually only apply to us and our lives in that moment. It’s human nature to gravitate toward relevancy.

I’ve been a student here since August 2012. I read and work on the campus newspaper. I read things assigned by professors, pour over lists catered to “twenty-somethings” and have officially fallen into the collegiate status quo – know what you have to know to get by.

How is it that I’ve allowed myself to not pick up a local newspaper or watch the local news for so long? Unless it trickles down into the campus news circuit, I remain ignorant – that’s the ugly truth I’ve come to realize about myself.

While I’ve been fooling myself into thinking I’m a Murray State Racer through and through, there’s been a community surrounding me for years – filled with people begging for their stories to be told.

Photo by Murray State and used here with Creative Commons license.

Photo by Murray State and used here with Creative Commons license.

There are people who are being told their panhandling is not welcome here. There are drug busts and criminal activity flying under the radar. Homelessness is an issue not many facilities or city officials here are equipped to address. Even on campus there has been case after case of reported sexual assaults, racism, drug activity and more.

While I have had some idea things like this were going on in Murray, I never knew (and still don’t, in some cases) how deep these issues go. I don’t know all the details. I don’t know the people being affected. I don’t know who’s doing what to help.

No more ignorance. No more seeing what I want to see and hearing what I want to here. I may only be here for four short years, but it’s about time I do something real with that time.

I’m going to step out of the classroom and into reality. I hope you’ll join me.

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