National Adrenaline Rush
Perspective of an Exhausted College Student
Before you read the rest of this article, please read and understand the following paragraph:
I am writing from a completely neutral standpoint. I am not pushing an agenda or attempting to challenge others’ beliefs or values. This article is to simply get the reader thinking about the current events within the United States by understanding the perspective I have gained throughout them. Thank you for reading. I only hope these words allow an opportunity to ponder.
Throughout the past year, this country has witnessed some extraordinary events lie before its feet. With the new year in play, most of us are ready for the country to move on from these issues. But sadly, there is no light at the end of the tunnel in the political or social realm. Whether you care about politics or not, you have surely seen the division amongst friends, families, work environments; the list can never end. These divisions have been caused by the national adrenaline rushes leading up to January of 2021. I call them national adrenaline rushes because I always get a feeling of protective instinct when I see the world has been struck by an incurable virus, or rioters roam the streets, or a capitol building being attacked by more rioters. I am positive I am not the only person who has gotten these adrenaline rushes. I believe my perspective may offer some clarity to your thoughts. If it does, let me know and I will be more than willing to talk further. So let’s start from when this all began… at college of course.
I am a native to Upstate New York and a college student attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. At the beginning of the 2020 spring semester, none of my friends talked up politics or national emergencies. It honestly wasn’t even thought of in conversation. I was just there to study for an educational degree. Then, there began to be talk of this new virus found in China. The first time I heard of it was in January from the leadership in my dorm. It was just a simple remark in conversation before all of the “important stuff.” I let it slide thinking that a world-wide pandemic could never happen and those things only take place in fictional books I used to read in high-school.
Well, that sure came as a surprise when I started getting calls from my dad, concerned about where the virus may lead. In light of this, I started to get a little paranoid too as I thought of possible school shooters, apocalyptic events, and so on. Keep in mind I am a young college student so I naturally blew everything out of proportion. While I was trying to get a feel for what is going on in the world, my friends and I were planning a spring break trip to Tennessee. This was extremely exciting considering this is my first spring break in college. My parents had told me to be careful and be prepared for anything before leaving. I calmly assured them I’d be just fine. Before departing on our wondrous journey, there were rumors that Liberty may send students home early. My friends and I thought about this but did not truly take heed of it during our trip.
We left for Tennessee on March 13 and had a great trip… up until about mid-way through. Thoughts of the virus grew into viral worries. We all got emails from Liberty saying that the university is closing due to COVID-19. A spark of protective instinct ran through my body as I searched for a way to get back to college safely. All I wanted was to get my girlfriend back to her parents in one piece without them having to worry. I believe we all had the same feelings of protecting our loved ones and each other. I sat and contemplated the possible risks we would all be taking within the next few days. My friends and I argued about what to do. We all kept asking ourselves how we should handle the situation. Most of us decided to leave that Tuesday, March 17. We got back to Liberty safely and I spent the rest of the break at my girlfriend’s house. Everything was pretty chill for the rest of the break. Until that same Friday when I headed back to New York.
New York had the most COVID cases in the country. My dad came to pick me up from college. I argued with myself whether I should stay in Virginia where it was seemingly safer from the virus. I went home anyway. During the drive, I saw people posting about college students coming home and other COVID related things. Nothing all too political or controversial. It was all somewhat caring and thoughtful. I was slowly panicking in the backseat of my dad’s truck. “I’m literally running into the fire!” I thought to myself. I consistently updated my friends about how bad New York was getting. Continuing to worry myself at the same time. I got home, unpacked, and began online classes for the rest of the semester. And that was the first national adrenaline rush I faced; the first we all faced.
Some time went by. I finished college for the semester and then there began the true sign of major division within the nation. On May 25, George Floyd was killed in police custody. I remember the uproar on social media and the effects in everyday conversation. Protests began to shout for justice, riots started in major cities. I would hear of people being shot, stabbed, hit by cars, etc. Another surge of protective instinct filled my body as my imagination got the best of me. This begins what I call the second national adrenaline rush. I started to believe this may have also marked the beginning of another civil war. Most people were on Facebook or Instagram, virtually arguing with each other and throwing around PragerU videos or sharing BLM speeches. I was one of those people. This began the time when most chose to value their values over other people. I was foolish enough to be a part of this movement.
I would consistently feel convicted of what I was so flamboyantly sharing. I never really thought about it until someone started to get offended. Then we’d begin an endless argument in the bounds of the sacred comment section. This social media war continued throughout the rest of the summer and even until today as I’m typing. I am not saying getting offended is wrong or anything of the sort, but shouldn’t a relationship with a fellow human being be more valued than a political view?
I remember when I was working at a market over the summer. I’d finish a shift and go home. When I was bored, I would immediately go onto Facebook, well-knowing that I would get offended by something someone posted. I would feed the bitterness of political unbalance within my head. The people who died over the summer will be remembered along with the relationships lost.
This all changed when I moved back to college for the fall semester. I had the opportunity to hear from many other political views considering all of my friends experienced the summer differently. Honestly, my dorm mates helped shape my views today and I appreciate them all the more for it. Having the solid conversation we had, helped me understand my reaction to the summer and the tension that arose. As I mentioned earlier, the social media war is still going on today. And I don’t see an end in sight but I can only hope.
January 6 was yet another national adrenaline rush. The riots and protests on Capitol Hill. My mom and I just got back from Wednesday night church. I sat at the dining room table looking through my email. My mom asked if I had seen what was happening at the Capitol building. I had no idea. She mentioned a quote from Former President George Bush calling the riots an “insurrection.” I frantically searched Google for some answers. Low and behold… I found them.
Thoughts of yet another apocalypse or another civil war bought tickets to the train in my thoughts. “What could happen next?” I continued in thought. More news and controversies appeared the next day. It was all too concerning but at this point, who isn’t used to some messed up hysteria throughout politics. The increase of nonsense or verity would only continue.
Tomorrow begins the inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden. There may be another national adrenaline rush with the possible fights and riots. Americans against Americans, standing for freedom but on different sides. This is what our country has turned to. Sounds like we’ve already begun another civil war but I’m sure it will soon unfold in the following years.
The reality is that there are more important things than who won the election or what rights may be possibly taken away or given. As a country, we need to focus on our neighbors. I realized I needed to focus more on the people around me over the summer when the riots were big. I continued to battle the social pressures of differing opinions and decided to simply be understanding. I came to the conclusion that differing opinions are not the end of the world.
All of these fears are useless and do not help anything. I did not notice the possible effects fear can play in my life. A fear of COVID will not help anything, but of course, I treated it as I felt led to. Fear of another civil war will not help anything. There are so many fears I have allowed into my life and it’s foolish to live in light of them. The future will be challenging for the whole world, but I have hope.