Anonymity breeds a culture of negativity

The Chimes Staff addresses what it means to avoid negativity and be thankful for what Biola has to offer.

The+Chimes+Staff+addresses+what+it+means+to+avoid+negativity+and+be+thankful+for+what+Biola+has+to+offer.+%7C+Graphic+by+Melanie+Kim%2FTHE+CHIMES

The Chimes Staff addresses what it means to avoid negativity and be thankful for what Biola has to offer. | Graphic by Melanie Kim/THE CHIMES

Chimes Staff, Writer

Each of us had different expectations when we first came into Biola, from finding a solid group of friends within the first few weeks of our freshman year to all chapels being engaging and inspirational.

But the moment the promises in our campus tours are not delivered or we find ourselves sitting through a chapel speaker who makes Ben Stein’s monotone sound upbeat, we begin complaining. In some instances, the inclination towards expressing negativity is set in motion when someone around us voices their dissatisfaction first.

The anonymity provided through technology fuels this kind of group complaining. Apps like Yik Yak and confessional Facebook pages allow us to complain about how Biola has failed to satisfy the rigid expectations we came in with. Social media has become something that allows people to say whatever they want whenever they want and deny the burden of ownership for their statements.

Recently, we have taken advantage of the ease that comes along with social media, complaining about every little thing Biola does wrong. While Biola has imperfections, we need to realize that it is not the duty of the school to please everyone.

If you enter into something with a negative mindset, you do not give it the chance to succeed or to be something enjoyable. Entering chapel with a sulking attitude, expecting the speaker to bore us with mundane Sunday school platitudes hinders us from accepting a potentially edifying message.

Along with cutting off all possibilities for personal enjoyment, negativity sours the experience of everyone around you. If one person begins to explain their disdain for Monday morning chapels, they are likely to affect the perceptions of their peers. A culture of negativity is toxic, threatening all potential for positive opinions.

So what kind of culture does this leave us with? Do our backhanded comments surrounding define-the-relationship talks and sarcastic use of ‘I’ll pray for you’ breed positive change or do we unknowingly undermine the very thing that makes Biola unique?

The heart of this culture of negativity among Biola students flows from the way we view each other. Often, we look to our friends and our institution to exemplify flawless godliness, rather than looking to God himself.

All humans, including Biola students, are fallen and flawed. There will always be a chapel you cannot resonate with and a personal struggle to find the perfect friend group. We slip into holding Biola to impossible standards and when it fails to live up to those standards, we say the institution has failed us, when in reality, we have failed ourselves. Even here, at the Bible Insitute of Los Angeles, we forget that our standard of perfect should stay fixed on Jesus, not our institution and certainly not our preferences.

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