SMOLDER: Independent thinking critical aspect of finding your passions – RU Daily Targum

Posted: October 20, 2019 at 8:49 am

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Column: Breaker of Chains

Stay in line. Ask questions. Raise your hand. Listen to your superiors. Follow directions. Be quiet. Keep your head down.

When I think of bad advice, this is what I think of.

Make a safe decision. Be easygoing. Get on the grind. This advice is even worse.

When you are a kid, what do you do? You play, have friends and enjoy life, but there is always one thing that every kid truly hates.

This is, of course, school. Many children, especially in the U.S., grow up knowingly hating school. Why?

Why do so many of us hate the idea of obtaining new knowledge? I believe this dread stems from a multi-rooted cause. To start, school is run very similarly to prison when you think about it.

You wake up and go to school early. The day is segmented off into periods of time in which you are told specifically what to do during each. One has to ask permission to relieve bodily functions. You are only allowed to speak when spoken to.

This regimented, strict and almost authoritarian way of educating begs the question: What kind of people does it produce? There will always be gifted and talented people who come out of school, obviously, but what about other people?

People who perhaps had gifts and talents that, if properly nurtured in a non-dictatorship like environment, might have thrived.

It is not only the schools fault. Society, as previously mentioned, both directly and indirectly, gives awful advice. We are told from a young age to always work hard so that you may get a good job in the future. A question so often asked is: What do you want to be when you grow up?

This ensures that children are looking forward to getting an acceptable and successful" job. If a child were to answer they do not know, or even worse, do not want to be anything, this would not be considered an acceptable answer.

Why are children being asked to think about what they want to be when they grow up instead of what games they like to play? How is a 6-year-old being held to that standard of success? How successful can a 6-year-old be?

Fast forward a bit, when you are in high school and college, you are encouraged to build your resume. People do not work on projects and become part of clubs for personal enlightenment, but rather, they do it to raise their score in a game called get a job.

If we keep telling and reinforcing the idea of constant kissing up, then what will America, let alone the world, be filled with?

I always used to think that in America, you can be anything. Now, I think in America you can be anything that someone else approves you to be.

I think it is more pivotal to find oneself than kiss up. Instead of asking What do you want to be when you grow up?, we should ask, What is your passion?.

I think schools should start emphasizing the idea of finding your passion rather than the idea of hall passes and building your resume.

Society should start to believe in the idea of personal enlightenment rather than rigid, robotic following. If we do not, no problems will be solved and no innovations will be created.

The stagnation of thought is something not only deep-rooted in school, but also it is ingrained in America.

Teachers need to start emphasizing unique thinking over test studying. Colleges should encourage innovation over new classes to take so that you can get hired. Parents should push their kids to read a book for fun, rather than for a class.

Perhaps we should start thinking about what we are told rather than doing what we are told.

Zachary Smolder is a School of Engineering freshman, pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. His column, "Breaker of Chains," runs on alternate Fridays.


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SMOLDER: Independent thinking critical aspect of finding your passions - RU Daily Targum

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October 20th, 2019 at 8:49 am

Posted in Enlightenment