Three months ago, I sat down in Susan Campbell’s senior seminar class for the first time, wondering what on earth this mandatory course could be about. I didn’t know what to expect, and, to be completely honest, I assumed I wasn’t going to learn much, that it was going to be space filler, an easy way to finish up my credits.
I was wrong. In that first class, Prof. Campbell asked how much we knew about income inequality, and asked that we write down our own definitions. I knew nothing about it, and even the term sounded foreign, like something political figures fit into their speeches and promise to fix.
Now, I’m preparing myself to attend Prof. Campbell’s senior seminar class for the last time, which will also be my last undergraduate class, and I can confidently say that I know eons more about income inequality than I did at the beginning of the semester.
Income inequality is the uneven distribution of wealth across people in the country. Income inequality is a woman’s 79 cents to every man’s dollar. It’s when clothing companies pay millions in advertisements but fail to provide their overseas workers with a safe work environment. It’s when bottled water companies put a price on one of life’s basic human rights while encasing it in toxic bottles. And most importantly, it’s realizing that not everyone is granted the opportunity to have the American Dream.
I’ve felt myself become more aware of the world around me. I once thought Disney was the greatest place on earth; now, I find myself unable to stomach the way money is spent so frivolously while some people in America don’t have clean drinking water. It’s become harder to accept the things I once enjoyed so mindlessly; even while walking down a New York City block, I’m unable to keep from thinking about how much money is wasted.
But it’s better to question the things around you then to live in ignorance, which is the biggest take-away Prof. Campbell’s class has given me. Noticing the problem is the first step in the long journey to fixing it.