Students should choose gaining knowledge over competition
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 19:10
So we all know that college education is very important. Your parents and teachers will tell you something like this: “Going to college will help you be more competitive for finding a job, earning more money and making career networking contacts.” It goes on and on, but that is a trivial message to send to children and students. Each student should attend college with only one purpose in mind: the desire to learn.
Students should be compassionate and intrigued about the subject they are studying. In the Arabic language, “talib” or “talibé” for feminine means a “seeker.” If you take a “talib” or a “talibé” and place them in an academic school, he or she will now be defined as a “seeker of knowledge” or “talib ilm.” Students need to have an imperative reason for spending thousands of dollars on their education. The only reason students should have to attend class is the willingness to seek knowledge and learn. Using participation points or attendance grades as reasons for getting out of bed is blasphemous. Students are not obligated to attend class or go to school but rather, they chose it. So what I am saying is this: get your money’s worth, ask questions and challenge the topics you are studying, even though it may not serve you any use in the future. Knowledge is power.
Nowadays, students simply take that for granted. Gore Vidal, an American writer, once said, “We are the United States of Amnesia, we learn nothing because we remember nothing.” This is exactly what students do. They simply memorize and study information and facts given by their instructor for the exam. During this idle cycle, they hesitate to challenge and ask important questions about the subjects they study. After the information has been memorized and the test has been taken, students walk out of the room omitting the information they learned out of their brains. After getting exams back, students tend to compare test grades with their peers and the people who get the “A” are automatically stereotyped to be geniuses, but I don’t buy it. GPA is just a number, but the ability to learn and apply the information learned to later use it to theorize possible solutions to practical problems is a trait that truly distinguishes a student from his or her classmates. This is what defines a genuine “talib” or “talibé.” This fundamental skill shows your genius and character; whereas GPA and test grades only signify that you are just good at studying.
Being a “talib” or “talibé” could and should be applied to any field of study, not just science, math and engineering. For example, drama or theater majors should challenge all the various ideas or theories about acting, directing and screen writing and then ask why and how they are being used. After that, they should present their work and learn what works and what does not work in their plays or films. English or creative writing majors should discover various styles of writing and voices and should then learn which one will help tell their stories better.
Students are not interested in investing time in learning. I guarantee if every professor at the university offered an automatic B to his or her students, regardless of showing up to examinations or doing any homework, this campus would be like the deserted Sahara. Most students are more interested in just receiving a piece of paper from the university and finding any job upon graduation.
Students, I ask you not be paranoid about examinations and grades, but rather I ask you to focus more on becoming a seeker of “ilm” and enjoyably learn as much as you can during and after college. Living in an unexamined life is just not worth living in. Just remember one thing, “The unfed mind devours itself.”