Viewpoint Editor Joe Waters gives his thoughts on our problems, and how we should contextualise them.
Picture the scene: it’s Friday night, 80s night, you’ve gelled your hair for the first time since you were seven years old, you’ve put turn ups on your jeans and wearing the most brash Bermuda shirt you have in your wardrobe. By any and all accounts, you look an absolute prat, but by your account,you’re ready to jam to some Blondie and kick back with everyone else in 601 who are soon to be convinced, truly, that they were “born in the wrong generation”.
All of a sudden, disaster strikes:a friend you’re going with goes to ground at pres, and while folk around give calls of “waheyyyyy” and “woahhh man down, man down!” you know something’s wrong.
They’ve had nothing to drink yet,and they can’t pull themselves up.While you hope it is just a pulled muscle and they can make it out, reality kicks in and you know it’s probably not as insignificant as you might hope.
It’s time to go to A&E. The night is over.
All that hair gel, making you look like you’ve been overly-curious with plug sockets, has been for nothing.
If this all sounds like hyperbole,then it’s because it is. Granted, it’s a bit of a faff (and an expensive one,too) to get to Ninewells after the busses have finished for the day, but it wasn’t the end of the world for me and my friend to have missed out on a boogie in the Union.
However, it was only after we managed to get to Accident and Emergency that I realised this. This is because we are conditioned, as humans, to make mountains out of molehills and generally take any mini-disaster to be the end of the world.
Missed a tutorial? Gonna fail.Deadlines looming? Looks like I’ve had it. Struggling to get that revision in? Time for a small cry I think.
We’ve all said and done one or more of those three things during our time here. But the thing is, a trip to the Emergency Department, if nothing else, damn sure puts things into perspective.
While me and my friend was there and waiting for her X-Ray, a multi-vehicle collision came in with more than a few people on stretchers, seriously in pain and who no doubt would be in hospital for a little longer than our five-hour trip.
Not only this, while I was busy trying to nap on the waiting room chairs, someone who I could only imagine to be some kind of mortician (he dressed in all black and appeared to be comforting someone) was floating around the hospital.
It was a strange environment and it soon became clear that my problems,and the problems of my friends’, were ultimately minor in the grand scheme of things. Put simply, there were big-#ger problems than ours in that A&E department.
Even though we were sent thereby NHS 111, even though my friend was in pain and I looked a berk, even though it was a ninety-quid round trip there and back again, I couldn’t help but feel like our problems were invalid.
Now, I know this is a dangerous tack to take. Our problems, no matter what, worry us for a reason and are often not, if ever, invalid.
With this said, however, my experience that Friday night was very profound and has led me to believe we really must reflect within ourselves that our minor niggles and struggles within St Andrews are just that, minor.
This isn’t me chastising those of us who like a good moan about the smallest of irritants for, on that charge, I find myself very guilty. Instead, I would urge the students of St Andrews to bear in mind that things that we frequently complain about as we bumble about in this town we live in are often not all that damning. There is always worse that could be happening to us but isn’t.
As naff as spending all night in an uncomfortable waiting room was, it taught me a lesson in positive thinking. We often find ourselves absorbed in our own issues, our own problems and our own disasters; this closes our minds to what could be worse.
Although it sounds morbid to find solace in the knowledge that chances are someone’s having it worse than you, but it’s solace nonetheless. If you’re feeling down, don’t focus on what could be going better, but isn’t,focus on what could be going a lot worse, but isn’t.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and require support, you can contact Student Services on 01334 462 720, St Andrews Nightline on 01334 462 226 between the hours of 8pm and 7am.