Guilt

Paying the price with guilt

The writer of the essay Condemn the Crime, Not the Person June Tangney stated in her essay, “…feelings of guilt which involve a focus on a specific behavior- the sense that “I did a bad thing…” (567). There is a big difference between guilt and shame. Tangney says that feelings of guilt involve a sense of tension, remorse, and regret over the “bad thing done” (568). However, even though Tangney and Dan M. Kahan (writer of the essay Shame is Worth a Try) both had views on shame, Kahan’s view on shame is that, “the potential of shame as an effective, cheap, and humane alternative to imprisonment” (572). Throughout Tangney’s portion of shame in her essay, she disagrees with making shame a punishment and believes guilt is more of a punishment. When it comes to college students, guilt affects them more than shame does because guilt is always in the back of their mind whenever they do something wrong, whether it’s alcohol abuse, fighting, cheating etc. Majority of students do something wrong during their college career and shame can be brought upon them, but usually they just do the wrong thing again because once they are done with their punishment, students don’t really care and will do it again. When it comes to guilt, people always feeling guilty about doing something wrong and it usually stays in their conscience until they do something to not feel guilty anymore.
One of the biggest things that goes on during every college students’ life is underage drinking. College students experiment with alcohol at parties or when friends are gathered in a room. It could be really fun and you would be fitting in with a bunch of people, however, there are consequences when people abuse alcohol excessively. When people get drunk, they mostly cannot control the volume of their voice and maybe even slur their words when they are trying to talk to someone. Other signs of being drunk are decision-making, can’t balance, vision is blurry, and your loss of memory. Sober people observing these drunken acts can make others easily judge you in the worst way, especially if you drink regularly. People can call you names and think you are disgusting, immature, and that there is seriously a problem. No one would want to be your friend because of the amount of alcohol you consume on a daily bases. People being judgmental towards the drunken person can make the drinker realize later that they are making a bad name for themself around people they don’t even know and could feel guilty for giving that impression to others when maybe he/she is not like that during the day. An example of this is a friend of mine at FDU moved out of her original dorm room because her roommate would always come in at 3am every night drunk and waking her up when she had to be up at 7am every day. My friend didn’t want to be around a drunk all the time because she found it annoying. Celebrity wise, the Jersey Shore reality star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was arrested this summer for public intoxication and disorderly conduct. A witness that was interviewed stated, "I saw her by the beach, just falling around, wobbling. No one could control her. She was so drunk - too drunk"(Jackson). At the end, Snooki felt bad about what happened and faced the consequences the judge gave her. People who show off their drunken side feel guilty the next day about something they might have done the previous night.
Another college act that happens is fighting. In most cases, guy vs. guy is usually a physical fight and girl vs. girl is a verbal fight, but it could be both sometimes. Fights that can happen could be between a romantic couple on campus. Mostly verbal fights are what occurs and a verbal fight can go so far that they could declare their relationship to be over. For a couple that’s especially in love, they would both feel a lot of guilt in themselves and what’s even worse is that they could walk past each other on campus which can increase the guilt. Sometimes the guilt can grow so much that they both feel bad about what happened and they get back together, but in some cases, that always doesn’t happen. A friend of mine had a boyfriend that didn’t go to the campus, but would visit often. One night, while she was walking with her friends and boyfriend, she decided to hang out with her friends over her boyfriend, who didn’t want to do anything but go back to the dorm. Her boyfriend got so mad over that, when they both got back to her dorm, they were yelling like crazy and it got to the point where he threw a chair toward her closet. Even though she was in rage, she really felt guilty about leaving her boyfriend that night and if she didn’t do that that night, she probably would still be with him today. It’s the same way with friends or even your roommate in school. Friends can sometimes have fights about the dumbest things, but it could get so serious that they stop talking. Later on, usually those people would realize that it was a stupid fight and they want to take back what they said because they felt guilty about what they said when they really don’t mean it. When people fight, sometimes it’s for a good reason, but most of the time they really feel guilty at the end of the fighting and want to be forgiven.
Lastly, cheating can be really serious when it comes to college life. Once again, relationships can be a part of this factor of feeling guilty, especially when it comes to college. Students around campus have boyfriends/girlfriends that don’t go to the same school, so they have to deal with not cheating until they see their partner. Problem is that there are tons of people on a campus like FDU or any big university, so it could be hard to not cheat sometimes. For the people that do cheat with someone else on campus, tons of guilt is going through their mind and now they have to figure out whether to tell their partner or keep it a secret. That type of guilt stays in you for the longest time. Other places around the world you don’t just feel guilty, but serious consequences can happen. For example, a woman from Iran is getting stoned for “adultery conviction” (Karimi). It’s not only someone cheating in a relationship, but also someone cheating with their school work. Lots of people from probably their junior high days to even now can copy others’ homework and say it’s their own. People even copy off of exams from other people too. Even though the teacher doesn’t know you didn’t do your own work, you know yourself that you didn’t do it. Once you see you got a great grade, you would get excited, yet you would feel guilty because you know you didn’t deserve it.
With shame, people do something bad, face their punishment, and just do it again. With guilt, according to Tangney, it can “foster constructive changes in future behavior because what is at issue is not a bad, defective self, but a bad, defective behavior” (568). It’s not just college students that could feel guilty for the smallest things, but also little kids, full grown adults, and even senior citizens. Everyone experiences it at least once in their lives and it different ways. However, once you feeling guilty, you realize that you don’t want to do what happened in the past again because you don’t want to feel that guilt ever again.

Work Cited
Jackson, Joe. “Jersey Shore star Snooki arrested in Seaside Heights, charged with disorderly
Conduct.” NY Daily News. N.P., 1 Aug. 2010. Web. 5 Oct. 2010
Kahan, Dan M. “Shame is Worth a Try.” Models for Writers.
Ed. Alfred Rosa and Paul Eschholz. Bedford: Boston, MA, 2010.563-569. Print.
Karimi, Nasser. “Lawyer: Iran Woman could be Stoned to Death Soon.” Associated Press.
Yahoo News., 6 Sep. 2010. Web. 5 Oct. 2010
Tangney, June. “Condemn the Crime, Not the Crime.” Models for Writers.
Ed. Alfred Rosa and Paul Eschholz. Bedford: Boston, MA, 2010.563-569. Print.http://www.oppapers.com/essays/Guilt/441202

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