Start Small, Build Big

Combatting bad-news fatigue by seeing what the people around us need

Kevin Lam, Staff Writer

If you follow the biggest headlines, everyday can feel like the next bad day. Big, complex problems in the world loom over our lives.

Political polarization. Climate change. The Covid-19 pandemic. Drastic inflation.

At times, it feels like there is little or nothing we can do about these issues that threaten to lead us to ruin. It might feel like we don’t have control over our lives, as if we’re falling with no parachute into some dark, new horror.

It is important to acknowledge, recognize and act on these problems. But it isn’t helping anyone to damage our own mental health by constantly mulling over these problems in our minds.

It can be easy to become overwhelmed when confronted with a constant flow of news about never-ending problems in the world. But if you focus on the life in front of you, there are actions you can take to make an impact. There are things you can do for yourself and other people you can assist. Sometimes, asking for help can be one of the hardest parts of improvement.

When faced with big problems, try looking at a small piece of the issue. What do the people around us need? What does our community need? The problems can still be challenging but the impact we can make is greater. When prompted, some students at SCC have started the first part of this journey by considering their own needs.

Sometimes what a person needs can be as simple as taking a break. When asked what they needed, “I need coffee. I need sunshine,” Kay Hashimoto said. Study breaks are a necessity too. “It would be nice if there were animals like therapy dogs and cats we could hug” said Alexia Lee, working on a mountain of equations.

Everyday material needs are less easy to remedy but are a need nonetheless.

“I need a reliable car,” said Lu Thompson.

Many people just needed time. “I wish there were more hours in the day so I can put more time and energy into my projects,” said Janice Cantieri.

Beyond the people we might see in our daily lives, we can also impact the places we live in.

When asked about what would help the community, the response from multiple people was simple human connection. “If we got to know each other better…” said MJ Cooke. There was a need to feel a communal college experience, “It would humanize us if there was more showcasing to show what people are up to,” said Alexia Lee.

A similar but distinct response focused less on quantity and more on the quality of that bond.
“If people made a conscious effort to be present with each other, I think it would really help the community,” said Janice Cantieri.
Keep those big issues in mind; they are important to work on. But in the meantime, you can do something for yourself, and others too.
Try to save a little money every day, tell your student government what you want, allow yourself to get good coffee. Share something you liked about your day with another person. Show interest in someone’s challenges. Spend one-on-one time with a friend. Finally, get to actually making that time management schedule.

You can do it.

Start small.