It seems that students at many universities tell themselves they don't matter. At the bottom of this post is a study I found that gives qualitative evidence of this trend. This only becomes true if they believe that their mind tells them the truth.
I think Paul Loeb gives a starting mantra. In Soul of a Citizen, Loeb picks apart self-resignation and the harm it causes:
"Once we accept that we're powerless, our passivity turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy, a habit of mind the becomes harder and harder to shake. We decide that there's nothing we can do about key common issues, large or small, so we withdraw from public life before we give it a serious shot. We stop paying attention. After a while, we stop caring. Why break our hearts over things that are beyond our control?"
Loeb and I agree that this is a pervasive cultural trend in America. Personally, I've been like many John Carroll students until recently. Reading Loeb's book has given me a clearer idea about what exactly are my self-serving intentions, and what can be done to convert such intentions. Instead of focusing on guitar practice and school for the sake of serving private life, I want to find ways to create social change with as many ways as possible.