Students need the freedom to think

I like to imagine a time in history when universities were filled with the opportunity for bright, eager minds to challenge authority, engage in debate and develop unique theories.

Unfortunately, what I see now is that the expectations of the modern academic world have made this type of behaviour quite rare – in the classroom, most students adhere to the popular opinion.

While there are many passionate students who are always willing to speak their mind, I fear that critical thinking is becoming increasingly obsolete among the general student population.
It’s difficult not to get swayed by the group mentality, and unfortunately most students cave into playing it safe.  

There is the rare occasion when a brave student will play devil’s advocate, but most remain apprehensive to personal opinions that may go against the grain.

It seems that we’ve become conditioned by this restricting environment and we forget to think for ourselves.

A successful education at university is sometimes referred to as playing the “game”, as at times students feel the need to tailor one’s thoughts to match that of the professors who have the power to give them a passing grade.

At times it even seems that original thought on academic papers is unimaginable, when too often side- note scribbles saying “cite this information” are found when you develop a theory of your own.

The art of essay-writing has boiled down to a simplistic equation of how well you can use academic articles and opinions to prove an obvious point.

Though this is a staple for undergrad arts courses, using another person’s evidence to reinforce a thesis is becoming redundant.

In-depth analysis, which most often reflects what a student has truly learned, too often gets overlooked.

As students who pay for our education, we need to realize we should feel comfortable objecting to what we believe is wrong and contributing to our learning.

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