Being in college can often lead to living in a very tiny bubble; a bubble which makes it seem like formals and midterms and Friday nights at Rumorz are the most crucial things going on in our lives. You may scoff at this, but I see it every single day.

Enslaved to an endless stream of activities and organizations, we often forget just how minute and insignificant these obligations truly are.

I'm not trying to demonize rewarding yourself for hard work. College is both difficult and time consuming, and I know that I would lose my mind if I didn't have some outlets for my frustration.

But one of the things that irritates me most about the collegiate years is how small some people make their world.

If you can't look around and recognize that yes, this is fun, but there are vastly more important things happening in the world right now besides planning a trip to the cesspool known as PCB, you have missed the point of going to college.

Take the recent SGA election for example. On a campus of more than 27,000 students, only 3,686 took the time out of their day to vote for their own student body president. There's no pretending I am a whiz with numbers, but I am pretty sure this is a fairly shameful statistic. I suppose everyone was too busy planning their free beer Fridays and having LIT's at Cool Beans. But meanwhile, in other parts of the world, people are losing their lives just to have the opportunity to cast a vote.

This past weekend in Afghanistan, a majority of the population waited in hellishly long lines to elect a successor to President Hamid Karzai, in office since 2001. You may be thinking there is no way this applies to you, but you might think again when you recall the lives and resources we have invested in that country.

These people should serve as an example to us.

Throughout the buildup to this important election, the Taliban have been actively targeting election sites, election officials, reporters and even civilians.

Just last week, world-renowned photographer Anja Niedringhaus was shot and killed while traveling with a convoy of Afghan military personnel. She never photographed the election she came to cover.

Last month, two suicide bombers set off their devices in front of an election commission in Kabul, and the week before that, several teenagers snuck into a hotel and murdered an Afghan reporter, his two children and a foreign election official.

It might seem a little inconvenient to go vote under these conditions, yet 60 percent of the population managed to make it happen.

Similarly, the race for prime minister in India has drawn out an electorate with a strong appreciation for simply being able to vote.

While many of us cannot find the time to do it even when the message is so inconveniently sent right to our wireless devices, some of the electorate in India had their ballots delivered to them by camel or goat. No, "camel or goat" is not a new voting app – an actual camel brought some of these people their ballots.

Voting for a student body president is not comparable to voting for a president or a prime minister.

But recognizing how fortunate we are to exercise what power we have is vital; if you don't make participating a habit now, it will likely never become one. The next time you think you don't have time to vote between dress shopping for formal and attending Zumba, remember that some people die for this type of opportunity.

Let's try to be citizens of the world, not just citizens of UT.

Katie Dean is a junior in political science. She can be reached at xvd541@utk.edu.