Aug 232009
 
Authors: Kevin Hollinshead

I’ve officially quit watching cable news. Instead, I’m embracing positivity for a change.

Ok, let me back up a bit. Freshmen, I’ll get to you shortly, but this column is largely devoted to the kids who really matter at this place, the upperclassmen.

At this, the start of the fall semester, most of us returning students are justifiably excited. This is the year we’re going to kill ourselves in exchange for an awesome GPA (law school or bust!), the year we’re going to more actively pursue our passions and the year we’re going to meet those long-elusive goals.

With a new year comes that feeling that keeps you up at 2 a.m., the one that makes you too giddy to sleep. I’m referring to unbridled optimism. I’ve always been somewhat of a cynic, or pessimist if you prefer, but even I’m not immune to cracking a smile about the possibilities.

It’s so refreshing to think positively for a while. Yet, the outside world from the local level on upward seems to exist to bring our spirits down these days.

People everywhere are working themselves into a frenzy over things they’re basically been told to worry about. Take the health care issue. Conservative groups are organizing and busing in “grassroots protesters” to shout down Congressmen and women at town hall events, preventing meaningful discussion on the topic.

Talk of what’s actually in the current bill has gotten drowned out by pure bile, such as absurd rumors about “death panels.”

CSU’s decision to construct multiple new buildings in spite of a huge state budget shortfall has proven to be a hot local topic. The school is embracing the sad reality that the best way to attract new students is to make the campus progressively newer and prettier. At our expense.

The “U+2” rule implemented and enforced by the Fort Collins city council prevents a student from living with more than two unrelated people at a time. It has served to make students looking for cheap housing more than a little peeved.

I’m sure many of you had a rough time finding a summer job, so watching the news, going online or even overhearing a conversation these days just serves to compound your frustration. Things aren’t going to be much better this fall, apparently.

See how draining this all is? We’re emotionally spent from letting this stuff get to us. It doesn’t have to, though.

My advice to everyone reading this is to just take a step back from it all and choose to think a little more positively. Take solace in convincing yourself the hottie in the plaza is checking you out, your studies, and the strides you’re making to better yourself.

I lost 35 pounds over the summer, made possible by me saying “I can” a little more often than normal. The universe tends to act in your favor if you offer it positive energy.

I don’t watch cable news anymore as its energy is decidedly toxic these days. I’ll obviously continue to write about issues, local or global, that affect us all, but I’m going to do my best to not emphasize the nasty side of a story.

Rather, I’m pledging to look at a given issue as something we get to resolve. Criticism will still be levied at anything I see fit, but this can be done without getting totally sucked into it.

Now, for the advice to freshmen: you’re going to love it here. Just be prepared to become a little more flabby. Get ready to work harder than ever before, yet be lazier than ever in the same day.

Finally, expect to learn more about yourself this year than you have in the previous 18 years combined. If you choose to look at it the right way, you’ll emerge as amazing human beings. This year though, you’re just annoying.

Kevin Hollinshead is a junior political science major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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