Want to make a difference? Do it differently then.

Canteen, College, Friday Lunch Time:

Trying to decide whether to go for the m&m’s or a white choc-chip cookie that’s clearly been through the worst of the fumbles of nervous, indeterminate lower sixth’s attempts to manage the bizarre pincer thing that lets cherry tomatoes loose everywhere…
Then I see it; “Stop Kony.”
A tiny part of me, one that is growing. A part of me that’s beginning to take hold and become more impulsive, wanted to roll over to it, reach up and pull it down.
Not because I want to stick “Keep Kony” posters up everywhere (No, I really don’t.)…but because I wanted to find someone else to put it up there…someone who generally cares and doesn’t just want to jump on yet another self satisfying “social media bandwagon” that will “change the world!”

Yup, I’m being sceptical/cynical again.

I’m comparing my entire education to the London Marathon. The Oxford rejection was Paula Radcliffe pissing herself in the Street, I’m now on last the few miles…they’re hard, but I can just about make the blurry finish line and I’m confident enough to take in the sites around me.
Unlike most of my peers (sorry, if this sounds arsey) who yesterday pissed themselves in the street; the street that was January results day…or are yet to do so on August 18th.

I’m not about to say that all of the amazing movements students have created and led from the beginning of whenever, are full of shallow, do-gooding, lazy dreamers. What I am saying, is that it’s very clear that those who feel lost, only free and happy once they’ve drank half a bottle of wine, and feel guilty from living a relatively comfortable early life can have the tendency to be moved by an issue they know little of, jump on that Christmas coca cola advert’s bandwagon (ye, i know it’s a train), and the “join the fight!” because they feel better for…”making a difference.”

Also, it can look cool.
Maybe it started with those bracelets that came out back when I was in hospital, around 2005. At the time that was a fantastic notion to gain awareness and make people react. It even woke me up to the outside world a little. (And believe me 15 weeks of Alder Hey, 53 weeks of hospital altogether, is a bubble. I had no idea a general election was going on until i bumped into Chery Blair on my way to Mac House, and this is a girl who remembers standing at the polling booth with her Mum, Dad and Nanna in ’97 shouting, “My Mummy fancies that man called Tony!”)
But like i said, emotion, awareness (in an awareness for awareness’s sake sense) was brilliant, at the time. But time has moved on, and we’re moving on. Twitter may well have raised awareness and kept people informed and still does with the Arab Spring, particularly the Egyption revolution…but more importantly it was a tool that was used to advance, get people moving and bring down the ruling elite. And that, is what I think we’re moving into…we’re now using media, it’s power as a tool to actually do something, instead of shouting about. We can still shout, but we can do more with it now!

When trying to publicise and raise money for a charity I truly care about (Back Up) I do sometimes find myself and others playing the emotion card, but I’m trying to change that…I’m trying to get things done! I’m climbing a mountain in July and I’m not just raising money. i’m actively helping…doing videos for young people to give advice to them about re-starting school with a spinal cord injury, leading an under 13s multi-activity course…(so excited about that!) and generally having an active input as a member of the Youth Advisory Group. I’m not just shouting about it, I’m doing. And i think that’s what people need to start doing more of. We’re living in shitty hard times and people are becoming hard…they’re a lot less likely to sit crying at videos of kids dying, now they’re having to cut back on the weekly shop, than they would have done in the early-mid noughties.

Maybe the pre-uni students thinking shoving posters on the walls of colleges and I’m assuming Unis, and tweeting “let’s get Kony famous!” are a little behind in the times…the bandwagon’s slowing down and the new notion of getting things done has ate up its Burger King at the M6 service Station (I like the one at “Corley” it’s like a fake “Chorley!”) and is well on its way of doing so!

If you want to make a difference, accept that efforts in the past have caused differences to be made and do something different and better about it.

I chose the m&m’s by the way.


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