Misery is cool

Students love to complain

In the ultra competitive, fast-paced world that we currently live in, people are always trying to one-up their peers.

Whether you are doing that little extra at work, studying longer for the big test, or spending extra time in front of the mirror to make sure that you look your best, people are always trying to get ahead.

Within reason, these can all be positive things which could possibly enhance one’s standing in the world.

Trying to make one’s self viewed in a more positive light is nothing new, but when did it become cool to brag about one’s misery? In my four years of college I have gathered quite a few examples of people doing this. I would be willing to bet that you have heard many of them yourself, or even been the one saying them as you wait for a class to begin.

The biggest example I can think of is something that I hear every semester of college. A student will be in class complaining about the five-page paper they have to write. Then the person they are talking to, or in some cases some random person who was not even in the conversation, will make it known how they have a 10-page paper to write on a book they have not even read yet.

It seems like everyone feels their life is so much harder than their peers’ and they feel it is necessary to let their misery be known. My classes are harder than yours, I have so much more homework than you, my job is harder, and my relationship is more unstable.

Instead of being a constructive listener and asking questions about the other person’s issue, people automatically try and show how their situation is that much more tragic.

If a friend is complaining to you about something, no matter what it is, actually be a friend to that person. Listen to them, ask questions, try and offer some advice if it is appropriate. See if you can help them out. That is what friends do; they do not try and diminish the other’s problem by bringing up their own issues.

As college students, we all have our fare share of dilemmas. A lot of us have a heavy class-load that we have to contend with. It is not easy trying to keep our grades up while making time for friends, relationships, part-time jobs, or the many other things that are a part of being a college student.

There is nothing wrong with letting off some steam here and there and doing a little complaining. All I ask is that you let the person finish their ranting before you begin your own.

Between sports, getting into a specialty program, and job opportunities, we compete with our fellow students enough as it is. There is no reason to try and rival their level of misery, too. n