Back To School 2016
You are about to start college in Seattle, one of the most aggressively liberal cities in America. Social activism is a way of life here, and the city is packed with attractive, engaged people carrying clipboards who are going to try to make you believe that it's your duty to get involved and change the world.
Counterpoint: It's not.
Yes, rolling up your sleeves to stop gentrification/save the glaciers/curb tuition hikes looks like the righteous path, the way to be a Good Person™. And when everyone around you is changing their social-media avatars every five days to "raise awareness" for a new cause, activism can seem like an imperative for social acceptance.
But maybe you don't care about saving the glaciers with your avatar, or you think that Saturday's demonstration to Dump Trump AND raise the minimum wage AND wage war on cars is kitchen sink nonsense that will accomplish nothing. You'd rather not bother. So don't. It's fine.
Just don't work yourself into a lather about it. "I should go to the protest. Should I go? I should go. Am I a bad person for not going?" Fuck that. Embrace the apathy. Go eat tacos. Check out an art gallery. Just because you don't care about politics or social justice doesn't mean you don't care about life. Why not make something: a collage, a cake, a musical ode to Doritos. Or just hang out with your friends and listen to their problems for an hour. Any of these things is better than forcing yourself to do something just because you think you should. Shoulds tend to make for miserable people.
To heavily paraphrase Louis C.K. in his 2015 stand-up special Live at the Comedy Store, the only things you are required to do in this life are eat and shit. Everything else is your call. (A privileged position, but so is apathy.) College is the designated time in your life to figure out who you want to be in the world. Don't blow it on someone else's ideals. Live your life and keep your eyes open for the things that raise your energy to above slug levels, the things that make it so you can no longer bother to not care.