The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

68° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Editorial: Don’t let finals cloud season of giving

This is a confusing time of year for college students. On the one hand, a solid month of blissful freedom (and/or bizarre and awkward interactions with family) is just around the corner. But on the other hand, it can seem like the world may actually end before finals do. Most of us are in the midst of a caffeine-and-pure-fear-fueled race to the end of the semester. Through the haze of finals stress, when you’re living day-to-day or, more to the point, deadline-to-deadline, it can be hard to have any perspective.  

But perspective is important, especially during what should be one of the most joyful times of year for everyone. In reality, that is sadly not the case. The national unemployment rate is 9.8 percent; in Arizona, the rate is just below the national average — 9.5 percent as of October. About 80,000 Arizonans are expected to lose their unemployment benefits by the end of the year if the federal government does not vote to renew them. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, one in five Arizonans lives below the poverty line.

These numbers are not meant to pile on doom and gloom; rather, they should remind UA students that, in the grand scheme of things, most of us are incomprehensibly lucky.

Yes, tuition is high and getting higher; yes, things are looking relatively grim for higher education in Arizona; and yes, there’s currently plenty to gripe about at the UA.

But, by and large, we have a roof over our heads every night, enough to eat (though sometimes that consists of Ramen and energy drinks) and at least moderately hopeful future prospects. Compared to much of the rest of the state and country, many of us are in pretty good shape, and it would do our stressed-out souls good to remember that from time to time.

So, during this season of giving, why not remind ourselves just how much we have to give? Sometimes, when trying to stretch a college budget from month to month, it feels like there’s no wiggle room. But if everyone did without a latte one morning or a 30-pack one Saturday night, a Chipotle burrito or fro-yo at BTO once a week, most people would find they do have a little extra to give.

It doesn’t have to be much. Many people’s holidays could be immensely improved with even the smallest of gestures. For example, several businesses near campus and around Tucson have Salvation Army’s Angel Trees or allow you to be “”Santa to a senior.”” These kinds of programs, where people choose a person in need, buy the Christmas present they’ve asked for and return it to the business to be delivered, allow givers to contribute vastly to someone’s holiday. Plus, buying a toy for a child or a warm robe for a senior citizen is sure to warm the heart of even the scroogiest college student.

If that kind of contribution is simply out of reach, there’s always the gift of time. Soup kitchens, food banks and other charity organizations’ business picks up during the holidays, and many Tucson charities could surely use some help. Working directly with the needy can help put school pressure into perspective, and provide a welcome respite from the campus bubble.

Whatever method you choose, do something this holiday season to remind yourself that, stress or no stress, you’re more fortunate than many. That’s an elusive lesson, especially when life at the UA feels like the whole world. But it’s worth taking the time to look at the larger picture and feel, however briefly, blessed, and able to share those blessings.

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Heather Price-Wright, Luke Money, Colin Darland and Steven Kwan. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

More to Discover
Activate Search