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Even in Wooster, creating change is possible

Whenever I talk to anyone about The College of Wooster, the first thing I hear is, “It’s in the middle of nowhere.” Now, I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t believe that when I first got here and don’t still believe that today. However, what I will say is that you cannot let that shape your mindset during your time here.

Wooster, Oh. was definitely a bit of a culture shock for me, I was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga. for the majority of my life and this city is undeniably a vastly different place than my hometown. First of all, the nearest corn field is probably an hour drive from my house and the downtown area is definitely more than a street. Regardless, I knew I was going to be here for at least four years and I was going to have to get used to it at some point.

When living in a small town like Wooster it is easy to become disconnected from the rest of the world and become trapped in what some may call, “the Wooster Bubble.” My first year there were so many different things such as protests, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and countless other events going on throughout the country — some even taking place in my own city. During this time, I felt a little helpless because I felt as if there was not much I could do in my current location, because, unlike in these big cities there wasn’t this mass mobilization happening for a particular cause in Wooster. And even if it occurred, unlike in these bigger cities, it would not receive the same attention. At first, I felt as if there was nothing meaningful I could do from where I was and sort of let myself “forget” these things were happening.

However, what I initially failed to see was that everyone responds differently and my response didn’t have to be on this grand scale for everyone to see. It is important to recognize what you can do within your particular situation. For example, in response to the ongoing crisis within Puerto Rico, there was a relief effort meal at Kittredge; all you had to do was swipe your meal card. Now this is not some “grand gesture” that is going to incite the arrival of varying news crews and have the College on TV, but it was a way for people who couldn’t physically participate in some of the more major support events to help in their very own way.

Another simpler way to make a difference is simply by having a conversation with those around you. Like me, you might be surprised at how a basic conversation can be a marker for change. Many times we make assumptions regarding how other people are feeling about particular situations. The only real way to know is by starting a conversation and actually hearing what they have to say. I was initially surprised at how powerful one conversation could be, but that one conversation can help someone better understand a situation they were less informed about in the beginning and that’s all because you took the time to sit down with them.

Lastly, reach out to the extensive number of groups that are currently on campus. Some of them are bound to be thinking about some of the same events you are. See what they are doing or see if they have any recommendations for things you can do doing. Of course you can always go to events focused on particular issues to make yourself more educated on a particular topic because in the end the real change starts with you.

D’Khorvillyn Tyus, a Contributing Writer for the Voice, can be reached for comment at DTyus19@wooster.edu.

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