Is Xavier University a Dystopia?

To a certain extent, I do believe that University is a dystopian society: the school system and the school itself. The part of the definition of a dystopian society that stands out to me the most is that the people live “depressingly wretched lives under some form of oppression.” The more that I think about it, the more the definition seems to align with some (not all) aspects of the environment at Xavier. For example, the administration can be seen as the oppressor, and the students are the oppressed. The administration says that they make all of the rules to benefit the students, but in reality, they create the rules to protect themself. There are a lot of students who are ignorant about the motives behind university policies. However, there are many students who are aware that administration is not fully transparent with their students.

I often hear my colleagues say, with sadden tones, that “school is a scam” while everyone nods in agreement. Personally, I think that Xavier has dystopian-like qualities because, for some of the time on campus, students are stressing and genuinely unhappy. When finals come around and everyone is drowning in work, the whole campus has this gloomy atmosphere and it feels like the students are going through the motions. This can be compared to numerous dystopian works that we have discussed in class, where societies live as if they are automated, not exactly knowing what they are living for. And many times that’s how I feel about school, simply due to the fact that the policies seem like they are not made for us.

On top of the autonomous feelings that some of us experience while at school, COVID-19 has also contributed to a dystopian feeling. The other day, I was thinking to myself: wow, this is really how dystopian books start. The virus outbreaks, then quarantine happens, then curfew, and then the government begins to enforce bizarre laws to “keep the people safe,” when in reality, they are trying to control everyone. I find it interesting how the whole country is doing online school and big cities are being quarantined, which honestly sounds like the plot of a dystopian book. Also, the fact that we do not know how long these restrictions will last, as well as what other laws will be enforced, can be unsettling to many. Most modern societies are built on the principles of freedom and not knowing how long we will have these restrictions may cause many to adopt mindsets that may be seen in dystopian societies.

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