I am worried that everyone is far too worried. Here on campus, students stress about the constant stream of midterms, papers, job interviews, internship applications, scholarship requests and extracurricular responsibilities, with a side of drug and burglary concerns and a touch of traveling plans. With all this on their plate, most Hoyas are exhausted, anxious and just ready for the semester to be over.

These sentiments are not only found across campus but are echoed throughout the world: Whether it be the financial crisis, terrorism, climate change or any number of pressing problems, people everywhere seem to be crossing their fingers, with bated breath, expecting everything to collapse at any second. In all, it forms a general truism: The human race is sick of the present and anxious about the future.

If you need proof, just look at recent surveys of Americans’ attitudes about the future. Optimism used to be a staple of our country’s identity – this was the land of opportunity, where hard work and sacrifice could create a better life for anyone dedicated enough. Yet things have changed: Nearly half of all Americans think the country’s best days are in the past. Around the planet, across the country and even on our own Hilltop, I have to ask: Where did all the optimism go?

A large part of the problem comes from the recent phenomenon of the constant news cycles and Internet inundating us with bad news and tragic stories. In being more fully connected to the world we must be wary, for this never-ending stream of bad news can drown out the good and corrupt our perspective. Tragic stories can be calls to action, but in great excess they can also bring about pessimism. Such pessimism can tragically evolve into apathy, perhaps one of the greatest of all sins and the exact opposite of the intended response. Are modern times really that much worse than others, or are they merely better covered by the media and our digital age?

I do not suggest that these are not tough times: My heart goes out to the countless number of people who have suffered recently. However, tough times have come before and somehow we got through them. A basic skimming of human history suggests that things could be, and have been, far worse. Every time a problem or crisis has arisen in the past, people have come together, turned the situation around and come out for the better.

This should not belittle the difficulties many are dealing with today, but instead should offer them hope, an asset that seems to have been forgotten by most. Hope is not simply wishful thinking, but is instead something to have faith in. Hope is believing that during every tough time some greater power is at work or some greater plan is unfolding. There is a reason early Christians placed it as one of their three most important virtues. Hope was the anchor, the expectation of salvation that held an individual fast during difficult times. Hope removes the burden of worry from our shoulders. If despair leads to apathy, then hope, instead, leads to service. In short, whether our troubles are as large as losing a job or as small as an all-nighter, if we have hope, we are able to remain happy.

Yet there is still a more genuine beauty to hope. Hope stems from the Old English word hopian, meaning “to dance, to spring forward.” To imagine hope as dancing, as placing your trust in the movements of some invisible partner as you glide across the floor, in full confidence that though the movements seem unseemly now, by the end of the song every component will have come together to fashion a remarkable work of art – that sensation is something we all could use. Therefore, when the walls of worry close in and the overwhelming troubles of Georgetown and the world instill despair or frustration, put things in perspective. Trust in something greater than yourself. Take a moment to stop worrying – instead, embrace the dance.

Michael Fischer is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. He can be contacted at fischerthehoya.com. POSTSCRIPTS appears every other Friday.

Leave a Reply

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