by Ali Siemens (Contributor)
Some of us left high school only a few short months ago, and others of us escaped the prison years ago. While in high school, everyone was aware of the cliques: the jocks, the popular group, the band geeks, the punks and the outcasts.
Upon leaving high school, we tend to leave those cliques behind. Once you reach university, you find yourself befriending people you may not have given a chance in high school and bonds are created over a passion for the subject we choose to devote ourselves to. English students band together for their love of literature, science buffs discuss their latest ground-breaking ideas, art students work together to try and create something beautiful and philosophy students drink their scotch and argue the meaning of life. We all work towards finding people with similar interests to discuss and share what we have a passion for.
For the most part, in the beginning of our degrees, classes are filled with students from various areas of interest. The first day of class is always the same bullshit: “Now I want you to turn to the person next to you and figure out a little bit about them, then we will stand up in front of the class and share with everyone who they are, what year they are in, what field they wish to pursue and their favourite color” (purple).
Time moves forward, we finish our elective requirements and become specific in our course selection, and we usually don’t have to go through the elementary meet and greet. But while time is moving forward and our knowledge expands on the subject we have dedicated ourselves to, I have noticed a certain level of pretentiousness that seems to go along with it.
As an English major I would like to imagine myself as someone who knows a bit more on the subject then say a science major; but that is not always the case. And guess what? That’s fine with me.
I have come to the realization that I am not an expert, and there are always people who will know more than me. Just because someone is not specializing in English does not mean they are not capable of the same skills I have worked on for most of my degree.
Kinesiology students are allowed to appreciate art, science majors are allowed to have an interest in history and English students are allowed to value philosophy. None of us should be claiming to be experts in one area, and if you are, you need to rethink yourself.
Post-secondary education is an opportunity for all of us to further ourselves and learn from the classes we enrol in. Lately I have heard a lot of bitching and complaining about all aspects of the educational system; professors, assignments and – believe it or not – the intelligence levels of our fellow students. Get over yourself.
I have encountered a few different people in my time here at UFV who are working at completing their degrees but are also trying to put down others in the process. I thought I fled high school. It’s true, UFV does not have a challenging entrance requirement and that means that sometimes there are students who attend UFV who may not make it elsewhere or finish their degrees. But is it your job to make them aware of this?
School is supposed to provide an atmosphere that allows people to flourish and grow, not be put down and discouraged. We all have our specializations, but that does not mean we are idiots in all other fields. I may not be able to get through a fourth year physics course, but it does not make me an idiot. It also doesn’t make science the elite degree. Every degree offered in university allows people to go and fill their role in society; we need history, science, English, psychology, kinesiology, philosophy, nursing and visual arts. There is not one degree that is better than another, even though we all tend to think our field is the most important.
The last time I checked we are all here to learn. Learning is something we all have in common, no matter how much our degrees differ. I do not claim to be an English expert, nor do I claim to have the be-all-end-all opinion about art.
So the next time you decide to have some sort of egotistical power trip over someone else’s education or passion for a field they may not specialize in, shut up. You may know more about the subject, but try approaching it in a manner that benefits the other person rather than shutting them down. If you are teaching someone something about a subject you may know more about, you are only helping them learn.
And isn’t that what we want, a society full of people who are smarter and well-rounded? Or are we working towards keeping people at a level where they are ignorant and afraid to achieve anything more then what is inside their comfort zone? Expand your mind, Mr. and Mrs. Pretentious; that’s what the rest of us are trying to do.