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January 25, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 22°F

Opinion

Commentary: Toxic community is hurting students

I’ve only been attending Ithaca College for less than two years and how would I describe my experience? It’s been a poor experience. So poor it’s living in a rat-infested apartment in the Bronx. So what exactly put my experience under the NYC Section 8? Well, to put it simply, it was the community. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve surrounded myself with a decent number of genuine people who have supported me throughout several aspects of life, and for that, I couldn’t be more thankful. However, that doesn’t seem to be a common trait among the majority of the community here. From multiple Ithaca-based Instagram accounts showcasing what people here are like, you will often either find overdramatic, high-school-level drama and gossip from adults or people exposing actual criminals and serious allegations. Seriously, I know people who have allegations against them. How are they even allowed to stay at this school? But some may ask what’s the harm in grown-ups acting like children? If you read that question and don’t have an answer, I have one for you.

I’ve encountered a lot of pretentious people here at the college who think they’re better than everyone else, but I’ll never forget the person who anonymously posted a piece about why they “don’t like” me, which is weird seeing as I don’t even leave my room to eat. Their reasons for making this post cited my “edgy humor” and the fact that I am “enabled by white people,” also going as far as to say, “[Oftentimes] it seems like he’s just looking for attention,” — which is true. I figured that would be obvious, since people who don’t desire attention wouldn’t usually go into a school’s Discord server and send out multiple notifications to everyone in it to annoy them. I grew up in two households, one in the East Harlem projects and the other in my own rat-infested apartment in the Bronx. I was raised in a completely different environment than a lot of the people here. So in reality when a white person “enables me,” it’s just me continuing to be myself without letting another person’s ideology or morals affect my own. My “edgy humor” is only labeled “edgy” because some people have their own agenda they need to fulfill when it comes to topics seen as politically incorrect. But what could I have done to this person personally to make a whole post dedicated to disliking me? I don’t know. And I probably never will know because, as I said, this post was made anonymously.

Now, do I care that someone I don’t know doesn’t like me and cries about it online? Not really. So why did I talk about it for so long? Because it was funny and I like complaining about things that are dumb. However, it also demonstrates a common trend I noticed in this community, of hating people for being different, or sometimes for just merely existing. I see people posting, once again anonymously, about the person who runs the Instagram account, Ithacacore saying things like “she’s cringe,” “she isn’t funny,” and “why is she so popular?” sometimes personally attacking her for how she chooses to identify. Why are you hating on someone for doing something they enjoy? What’s the point of targeting someone who isn’t doing anything to hurt you? This goes back to my point about a lot of people being extremely pretentious, thinking they’re above others when almost all of us are in crippling debt, so in reality, nobody wins. It pushes people away instead of bringing them together, isolating people for being “different” even more than they already might be for living in Ithaca in the first place. 

So what’s the solution here? How do we make the college community less toxic? Simple: we don’t. Yes, I sat here and wrote an entire commentary complaining about how much I dislike this toxic social environment just to say that we shouldn’t fix it. Yes, this community has issues in relation to inclusivity and often pushes people away that have ideals that clash with the rest of society. But I mean, what can you do? You can’t expect to change another person even if you don’t agree with their views or actions. And even if you do expect to change them, what makes you think they will? Not everyone has the same sense of humor or moral compass, some people are very sensitive, and others have become numb to the dark reality of the world we live in. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to get by and get out of here with a piece of paper that suddenly qualifies us to slave away in a field of work we’re passionate about. With that being said, I can’t hate on anybody for how they live their life, even if it involves the depressing reality of constantly putting others down out of jealousy, boredom, or maybe even their own lack of self-fulfillment, but I sure can complain about it.