How Do Students Spur Change? Pt 2

By Dom Belcastro|June 5, 2018Student Writing|

So you found a worthy organization, community group, or problem in your neighborhood in need of your time and energy. You know what PHB, NA, EPAP, and other messes of capital letters mean. You spent countless hours griping with others about the sorry state of society, while organizing for positive change.

Your first real win has come and gone. You and your fellow activists celebrated like there was no tomorrow after bending the powers that be to your collective will. Lives will be changed for the better because of your agitation.

BUT NOW — you are tired. The work has taken its toll on your body through sacrificed free time, money, and mental energy. There is always a new injustice to address. Fighting for change can be rewarding as hell, but everyone is susceptible to stress.

Some organizers and activists, just like any person with too much responsibility and pressure to perform, burn-out after giving too much. Maybe they have to take a step back for mental health or economic reasons.

Re-assessing your ability to take on new commitments while you uphold those you have already accepted becomes necessary. Learning where your time is best spent, takes time. Re-calibrating afterwards can be challenging, as organizations everywhere need more volunteers, organizers, engaged citizens, workers and everything else. There is work to be done everywhere!

Whatever you do, do not neglect your friends and family; they are our foundations. Balancing time spent with those you love and fighting to change the world for those you love can be difficult, but not impossible.

Bringing people from your social circle into your civic life or vice versa is natural. We struggle for justice best alongside people we care about. Volunteering in the community can connect you to people across cultural barriers, while bringing your friends to organizing spaces often allows you to learn many new things about each other.

We do not need to devote all our lives and time to narrow causes, but trying to be a part of some civic movement most of the time is not a bad idea either. While staying engaged as members of our respective communities, sustainably, may be difficult, together we can overcome even this.

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