Responsive Responsibility

Oct 122004
Authors: Kelly Hagenah

We have always been told that we need to be responsible.

It started out simply enough, with our first dependability test

involving a desired pet. As we grew up and began to prefer a

nightlife, we fought for the responsibility to have a later curfew.

And as we entered college we learned that in order for social and

academic survival, we had to be accountable for our own actions.

Responsibility is a huge part of life. However, sometimes we become

so preoccupied with handling our everyday tasks that we forget the

importance of taking them to the next level.

As college students, these tasks often relate to our social and

academic lives. Our social responsibilities form within our

personal life and are based around friendships, while academic

duties are more akin to a job. We try our hardest to manage our

time and balance these two among everything else, and seeing that

both are still accomplished, we seem to be doing all right. Though

it may feel as if we are managing these responsibilities to our

best extent, we may actually be stopping before our work is done.

Responsibilities may seem like everyday tasks. However, some have

the ability to give us back great rewards if we just took a little

more time to respond to them.

For example: academics. Sure, we’re in college to further our

education … right? We attend the necessary number of classes, we

complete (the majority of) our projects, and we obligingly take the

exams because after all, that is our responsibility. However, how

often do we really stop to absorb and appreciate the education we

are receiving? There are so many people in the world who are not

fortunate enough to be able to attend an established academic

institution, and yet we often take it for granted. Yes, college is

essential in order to receive a bachelor’s degree, but that does

not mean it has our full attention. Woody Allen once said, ” 80

percent of success is showing up,” but true accomplishment is

reached by responding to what we are given.

Our social life may seem like an unforced responsibility, but

frequently it is what we react to the least. Of course we all try

to our hardest to be a great friend and do what we are expected to

do. We willingly call each other to go out; we listen, advise,

laugh and converse because friendships are a valuable

responsibility. However, are we really doing the best we can?

Sometimes we are so concerned with the duties of just being a

friend that we forget to actually be a friend. If we remembered to

focus on the responses involved in friendships, along with the

responsibilities, we’d be able to give and receive much more.

While friendships and education are top priorities in our daily

lives, an upcoming and current event demands our response as well.

On Nov. 2 we all have the chance to decide who we think should

become the 44th president of the United States of America. Although

we may have completed our duty to register, many of us are not

advancing to that next step. The right to vote is an honor, and

this privilege should be seriously. We need to respond to our duty

as American citizens and step up by making more than a fleeting


By using these next three weeks completely, we have the

opportunity to stand as a powerful force in the election of our

future government. We can use our education to push our knowledge

on the issues at stake and we can use our friends to test our

aptitude through discussion. We have the chance to use our

responses responsibly, and by doing so we will be rewarded by

making a difference.

Kelly Hagenah is a senior speech communication major. Her column

runs every Wednesday in the Collegian.

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