Editorial: What we hope for this year

Kaleia Lawrence, Editor in Chief

Scientists and epidemiologists don’t know when COVID-19 will go away, if ever. Reports still vary and there’s not a universally agreed upon end date in sight.  

Despite going into another year of uncertainty, the Clarion Editorial board discussed what we want to see from it.  

More employee first protocols. 

When the pandemic suddenly forced many people to work from home, a lot of conflicting factors came into play. Some negatives found that Internet access wasn’t very accessible and equipment didn’t work as well, the separation of work and home life was non-existent and people were lonelier.  

However, there were some positives that can’t be ignored. Working from home opened the doors for more people with disabilities. Many office spaces and work environments aren’t very accessible. Physical barriers are no longer an issue when working from home. Overall, companies don’t have a favorable reputation when it comes to giving workers accommodations. But when the pandemic started and forced employers to create accommodations, it set a standard that can now be utilized by people with disabilities. We’d like to see consistent action from companies to create accessibility for all employees.  

Another employee-first protocol we’d like to see is a change in wages and time worked. Studies have been coming out in favor of a four day work week. When Microsoft Japan tested a four day work week, they found a 40 percent increase in productivity. Other countries like Iceland and some select businesses in the United States are following suit. So far workers are overall happier with it and do better work because of it.  

Wages should be raised so life can be liveable. It’s inhumane that companies don’t have to pay workers with disabilities minimum wage, and minimum wage as it stands is not enough. Someone working full time for minimum wage could not afford a single bedroom apartment in 95% of the U.S., according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual “Out of Reach” report. This is unacceptable and we hope to see changes from this within the year.  

First time voters engaging, 

educating and participating in 

this election cycle

 This year brings the midterm elections. Many Madison College students will be participating in the election process for the first time.  

It has only been since 1971 that the voting age has been lowered to 18. Nearly 50 years later, in the 2020 election, a TuftsNow study found that half of Americans ages 18-29 voted in the general election. This was an increase from the previous general election however there remains much room for improvement.  

This year, voters will be making decisions based on issues such as student loan forgiveness, free tuition for two-year colleges, legalization of marijuana and a myriad of environmental laws to name a few.  

It is crucial that Madison College students exercise their constitutional right to vote and at the same time be informed voters. Students must develop a healthy skepticism of their information sources so as not to be misinformed or manipulated. 

Not participating or participating in the upcoming elections with misinformation will ultimately hurt Madison College students. This year, students will have the opportunity to shape the world in which they live, and force elected officials to meet their wants and needs.  

Tolerating and communicating with grace

 These past years since pandemic life woke many people up to injustices and disparities in our country. The protests following George Floyd’s murder were the largest in U.S. history, and protests were happening around the world too. All of this happening during a time when many were stuck at home opened eyes. Conversations started happening more in the mainstream regarding inequalities. In some cases, these talks ended friendships and cut off family members.  

While it’s important to have these conversations, we believe communicating with grace is important, when possible. In some situations, grace is a privilege not granted to who you’re speaking with based on your relationship. However, when possible, approaching a conversation with understanding can open others eyes. There is certainly a time and place for debate, but persuading someone to understand sometimes takes more than facts.  

Conversations need to be had in a way that everyone feels respected. If you have the time and privilege of speaking to people of opposing views, try to approach the conversation with grace.  

Rest and less hustle culture

This year, we’d also like to see a focus on intentional rest and less hustle culture. People are encouraged, if not forced, to work all the time. Even if spare time, hobbies are oftentimes monetized. This perpetuates the idea that in order for something to have value, it must be sold. If your work has any meaning, then people will buy it. This is not true and not the point of hobbies. They are meant to be something enjoyable to do when you want to, not something you have to do out of financial need. If you have the privilege to do something you enjoy just for the sake of doing it, embrace it.  

There’s no dictionary definition of hustle culture. The idea of it, though, is that someone works long hours, carries their work into their personal life, puts as much on their plate as possible and places career goals above all else. 

The pandemic helped this process with blurring a lot of lines of personal and work life. If you find yourself in this cycle, it’s important to take a step back and figure out where you can focus on you as a person, not you as an employee. Hustle culture can make someone think that their worth comes from work. Don’t forget that your worth comes from being a human, not from being a human who has a job. 

Intentional rest is also important in self-care and combatting hustle culture. Sometimes self-care is portrayed as a bubble bath and reading a book. While those things are important and provide fulfillment, it’s not enough for it alone to be self-care. It’s like putting a quick band aid on a gaping wound.  

Intentional rest should be consistent. It’s revolutionary. In a society where working constantly and achievements are praised, resting is radical. Some even use it as a form of resistance, as the Nap Ministry says. 

Rest doesn’t have to be earned, it’s something that everyone deserves no matter what. It provides time for decompression and learning to feel your feelings instead of pushing them away for when there’s more time. Plus, it just provides a time to relax. This year, be intentional about your rest and realize its important.  

The world is constantly changing. Now, some of these changes are blatantly obvious, especially in regards to the effects of the pandemic. We at The Clarion hope to see these changes in a beneficial way.