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Mean 3.0

Sometimes, it takes some comedy to see some of the negative sides of student life in a more humorous light. I am sure I am not the first student, nor the last, to see that there is a significant amount of drama and bad sentiments. This is not just between roomies, classmates, and exes. This is also between students and professors, between friends, etc. Most people have encountered the Mean before.

I must say that the landscape of mean has indeed changed. When before it was a matter of person-to-person contact, the digital age of today has made it easier to let good and bad sentiments flow through the worldwide web and through data plans on most phones to date. It is the art of thriving in a sometimes hostile environment that makes any student much stronger for the New Year.

It is my blogging duty to stress how the new brand of mean, Mean 3.0, is an integral part of student life. Let’s not ignore it. It would be inefficient to pretend that everything people said is exactly what they mean. Second, it would be irresponsible to ignore the reasons people say what they say to one’s face, and behind their back. Most of the time, if someone says something about you when you’re in a completely different place, it means what they’re saying about you has nothing to do with you. For example, if someone says that your dress is too festive for the occasion, it really means that the person who says it wishes that they sparkled as much as you do. If someone says something like, “…if it was between me or him taking a test neither of us studied for, I would do better,” then it really means that person isn’t happy with where he or she stands academically. It really is that simple, and I apologize if I am just stating the obvious. So, since there are so many “unhappy” people around, so is this supposed to help one thrive?

The great thing about Mean 3.0 is that it keeps one on his or her toes. If challenges result, it is simply an opportunity to get thicker skin. While it may not seem like the obvious thing to the friendliest freshmen, whom I know, it comes in handy junior year when all of a sudden, you get rejected from internships right and left, you lose an election for club president, and your athletic skills are less than stellar. Mean 3.0 builds the kind of self-esteem that not even a perfect world can give. I think that is the most important thing when your self-worth being not directly related to how other people see you. Instead of succumbing to the tolerance of drama, negative criticism, and worse forms of mean, it is an opportunity to thrive. After all, does it really matter if a professor during sophomore year thought that your art project was not up to par? Hopefully, the answer to that is no. However, it is how one deals with these encounters that stays with him or her. It is time to deal with these encounters well.

The worst thing about Mean 3.0 is that we had probably done it ourselves. We probably made it a point to spread a little mean into the world. I have personally caught myself spreading a little bit of mean, when I heard someone had better interviewing skills, and thus had an amazing internship. Instead of being happy for that person, my first response was not to give the deserved merit. It is very easy to get caught up in one’s own insecurities, just as easily as it to get caught up in the insecurities of others. That is the ultimate reason why the Mean 3.0 is highly resilient; it happens to the best of us.    


Flameep's picture

I love this kind of thing!

Very well thought-out post, I really enjoyed reading this! I definitely agree that Mean 3.0 is a phenomenon of the here and now, and its importance can't be denied. I agree also with your point about resilience, and how dealing with this kind of thing can make us better people. It's funny because I didn't get into these kinds of interactions before college started. I also didn't know what the word 'troll' meant till I got to college either - for those who don't know, trolling is the act of intentionally antagonizing other people for comedic effect.

It's surprising that our current generation thrives so much off this form of humor; having a younger sister, I realize just how different her outlook is compared to mine when in comes to good-natured jokes, and even jokes made in poor taste. Maybe it was because I never had the opportunity or connection with people in high school, but I never felt or knew the simple joy of making fun of someone till I got to college. While trolling has become my favorite pastime, I also admit I took things too far sometimes. Despite how much of an ass I can make of myself, I'm only trying to get a good rise out of people - it may seem weird, but I think people get closer to each other the more they talk and joke around. In the cases where I do take things too far, I make sure to give a sincere apology, and know from that point on that particular topic is a sore issue with that person.

I know I've gone against your point a little here SocialScholar, but I think that Mean 3.0 is a necessary evil. In fact, if everyone in the world trolled a bit more, I think we'd all be a bit closer, and a bit happier!