Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

We can't

We can't

Hayley Little

Year 11, Marian College Ararat

My world is small. Each day I get up and go to school. I do my homework and go to bed. Then I do it all again. I pay no attention to the lives of those around me. I do not know what they are thinking, I don't know how they feel and it is impossible to know and understand everything that all people around me have been through. At school I put in headphones and I drown out “distractions” from the sounds around me. My world shrinks a little more. I focus on my work and I become distant. My world shrinks a little more. With my mouth closed and my sense of smell ignored I am shut in. My world is small and lonely. My world is like the world of the girl sitting next to me, working, and with her headphones on. The boy on the other side of the room is struggling  but my world fails to care for his. Why? What do anyone else's problems matter to me?

I go home. I finish my homework early. I go to the T.V or other social media. I can see other people's worlds in conflict for various reasons, but their worlds are so far away, I cannot help?. I look away so that I was never apart of their world. I think about that person who may have crossed my world on my way home. I think about them because they may have smelt a certain way or did something that took my notice, Do they even know that they are in my world? My world probably means nothing to them. Before I can comprehend what I'm doing, I've turned back to my social media. There's someone who's world is disintegrating. They are campaigning for world peace. I flick through the comments to find what the general opinion is, I agree!” they all chant, “All wars and conflict need to end!” they cry before doing nothing at all. I suppose there is world peace. Not the world that the original person was striving to make peaceful, but in the commenter's own worlds that have probably become small from headphones and being absorbed into their phones.

How should I know what their world is like? How can I know that they aren't doing something except yelling about it in a facebook comment section? They mustn't be doing enough because the issue still exists. Neither am I. I will not just complain about it in a facebook or YouTube comment section. I need to expand my world. We as a people need to expand our worlds. We need to be more connected. We need to open our eyes, take our earphones out, break the long cycle of the day in and day out routine, we need to get our hands dirty. When we see something that matters, we need to change it! We can! Can't we? Let's make them open their eyes, let's become part of everyone's world, and more importantly, let's allow each and every single world be apart of our world in the same way that they are apart of ours. Let's grab hold with both hands and make everyone's world better.

 We can't  just encourage people to speak about the issues that matter, or ignore them like drones, instead of working it out. Talking or writing doesn't change everyone's world. People do.  No single world issue concerns me. People matter because people are powerful. Let's use our worlds for good, do something to change instead of ranting, or we'll be closed off more.

We can.