Art by Madeline Duvall
People attend college to prepare for the real world and to gain understanding on a global scale. Nonetheless, the statistical numbers of Pepperdine are slightly skewed when discussing prominent and universal issues. It begs the question: Is Pepperdine truly preparing students for the current climate and issue-prone society we live in?
Pepperdine is but a small community in the grand scheme of things. Therefore, Pepperdine is not fully representative of the world as a whole; it is ultimately just a bubble of warped data. The University has 7,961 students, merely .000001% of the world’s population. No person can say Pepperdine is truly representative of the world as a whole. More specifically, issues at Pepperdine such as COVID-19 and mental health cannot provide a microscopic view of the world at large. Pepperdine students need to realize the effects of these issues differ greatly between them and others around the world.
On the other hand, Pepperdine grapples with many of the same issues as the rest of the world. People across the globe are plagued with the effects of the pandemic, mental health, crime, racial tensions, diverging political opinions and many other problems — Pepperdine is no exception.
COVID-19 numbers cannot be disputed. With 55.3 million cases globally, the world is wrestling with the spiraling health of its citizens. In spite of this, Pepperdine is hidden away in an ethereal beachside community. Consequently, as of Nov. 16, the University reported 77 total cases: 34 on campus and 43 off.
Though this number may seem larger than expected, it is less than .01% of the entire Pepperdine community. With Pepperdine located in a somewhat isolated area, there is no way to fairly compare the global numbers with the college’s, as most students are likely not experiencing the chaos and destruction occurring in other parts of the globe. However, not all of the Pepperdine community resides on the Malibu campus.
Another widespread pandemic is mental health. Thirteen percent of the world — or 987,220,000 people — suffer from mental health disturbances in 2020, medical professional Marissa Walsh said. In contrast, 44% of Pepperdine students the Graphic surveyed answered yes to struggling with a mental health crisis while on campus.
Of course the numbers will be inflated in a study such as this. College students struggle with mental health issues more than the average adult, so to say that Pepperdine is providing a reflection of the world’s mental health numbers is an overstatement. This inflation can give students a false sense of what is really going on numerically in the world and change their perception on the issue of mental health.
Pepperdine is not a sample size of the world’s numbers — it is barely a minuscule slice. Earth has greater issues than Pepperdine could ever imagine or even begin to deal with. Pepperdine is a sequestered campus in a pristine coastal town within a bubble consisting of well-rounded college students who are mostly dealing with normal issues that every college-level young adult must deal with.
Pepperdine students need to see the bigger picture, observe the world around them and learn through experience. Students should use Pepperdine as a stepping stone into the gateway of true adulthood instead of exclusively relying on Pepperdine to illustrate what the real world is like. Quite simply, doing so would be irresponsible.
Students must immerse themselves in settings located outside the campus borders and dip their toes into the choppy water of adulthood. Students should saturate themselves with the vast culture that is Los Angeles, break out of their comfort zone of Malibu and take a trip somewhere unknown. It could be as simple as getting in a car and driving wherever the Pacific Coast Highway leads, or getting an internship with a big-brand company that challenges them beyond all expectations.
The minute numbers at Pepperdine cannot, have not and will not break students out of the bubble and prepare them for the intimidating whirlwind that is adulthood, so they must do this on their own. By breaking out of the Malibu bubble, students will be prepared to live a life of purpose, service and leadership with knowledge and consideration of the world around them.
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