Warning: Stoke levels dangerously low!

What has happened to the stoke levels at this school? In this community? In this generation? It seems that lately it has become chic to act cool and calm at all times, no achievement is worthy of a hoot or a holler. What is it about society that says it is wrong to get excited about exciting things?

I recently took a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, to go skiing. First day of the year, a friend and I were in line at Alta ski resort, with 14 inches of fresh snow. It was a beautiful day and our stoke level was high; it was the first day of the ski season!

We skied till our legs shook, we screamed, we hollered, we got so excited we jumped up and down. And we got funny looks. Our excitement was lost on our fellow skiers. What is so exciting about a foot of fresh snow on the first day of the season? It is no longer a cultural norm to get excited.

Our generation has lost sight of a basic human emotion. It releases endorphins and makes us feel good. This lack of excitement, or lack of stoke, is a serious issue. Current media portrayals show people doing amazing things, and acting like it is no big deal. It is actually a really big deal! It is stupid to act like getting excited is bad.

Lack of stoke has given Southern Oregon University a serious case of apathy. Volunteering and cheering are in short supply.

Jake Merrill skis at Alta Resort, Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo by Peter Sundberg

“It’s a cultural thing. I personally don’t get it!” says student Sarah Rudeen, “Maybe it is that people don’t want to seem egotistical if they do something awesome. But, really, recognizing what’s awesome about ourselves helps us realize what’s awesome about everyone else. Apathy seems to be a loss of that interpersonal connection and excitement about being part of something greater than ourselves: human society.”

Shared excitement leads to shared connections and community cohesion.

This lack of connection and excitement leaves SOU a potentially dull place. It is not wrong to be stoked about your achievements. Cheer when your friends get a good grade or nail a sweet jump. Take a leaf out of Sarah Rudeen’s book; throw your apathy out the window. Get excited about anything and everything. Forget egotistical labels and be excited for the things that get you going. Pull SOU’s stoke level up and make it a better place to learn and play! High fives all around lets get excited!


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