I will make it through university and graduate this year but I can’t help wonder if I could have lived a much more fulfilling life pursuing learning outside of this institutionalized education. What does learning have to do with grades? A quantified value that merely instills a herd mentality. I could be a hardworking student but it doesn’t mean I will ace anything. I could do everything by the book but it does not guarantee my name on the dean’s list. When I started university I looked up to my professors but now I have no desire to please them in anyway. I want to pursue my own interest that is not in their syllabus and it can’t be because its a product of my own curiosity and imagination- a professor can’t meet it merely because he or she is not me. If I write on a topic I like, I want to read as much as I can on it, instead of being constrained by time because I have to write four other papers. And honestly fourth years student in International Relations should not have exams. We are free-thinking beings. Short-answer questions, and memorizing for multiple-questions is then a joke.
Another thing about how university encourages diversity and being different is that it is… well, bullshit. I remember my deans speech when I first entered university. He emphasized on the point of meeting people of all walks of life and embracing others differences. I’m sorry to say this but in many ways university is another high school where people in their personal circles often share similarities with each other. People who are different, well they are too different. People are often reduced to shallow stereotypes and reduced labels. What is wrong with the world? I have been in debt by the privilege I have had to attend university. But I do have to call out and say the way university system works, academically and socially is WRONG and FLAWED. There needs to be a closer relationship between students and professors. The idea of knit-tied community is only that and is missing the good stuff-the curiosity, optimism and gratitude. What happened to focusing on building character instead of emphasizing IQ. We have seminar classes but even that falls short because students and professors can hardly bear difference in opinion. They make the atmosphere so hostile. I am left to wonder, whether we have all together stopped accepting others differences.
More importantly, university doesn’t teach students how to put wisdom into their conventional life, rather university is a breeding ground for mental health issues, and psychological disorientation. We have various cultural and religious groups but how often do these groups interact with each other? How often do we try to understand each other’s backgrounds, and beliefs? Its great to attach a Jewish or a Muslim card to your backpacks but if there is no discussion between them, what is the point of this display? I still don’t understand where anti-antisemitism comes from? Why have Jews always been persecuted as outsiders? I don’t get it. I also don’t get why Islam had been reduced to women/girls not being able to handshake the other gender or being asked to lower their gaze. The comparison between Hijabis and non-Hijabis, and the good Muslim vs the bad Muslims – is that really going to help us get anywhere. It only adds dichotomies to a life and nature that is already overwhelming.
Most importantly education is suppose to be empowering us but university is manifesting cynics who have no shame in admitting so. What happened to making the world a better place? Why are we so ready to label others as idealist ? Why do you want to echo the pessimism of human history? Why can’t we be different? Is it too far-fetched to support visionaries? Is peace too much to ask? In my field, we are taught technology, economy, politics are all means to control us. It is true but what about learning how we can use these same methods to liberate ourselves? Addiction is no longer drugs, but Facebook, and twitter, buying and more buying. There is not enough focus on visionary personalities of the past who have been helpful in breaking free of chains that we have complacently put on. History and politics is mostly covered from a western discourse. IR has bitten of the Middle East, Africa, Latin-America and South-Asia. Education has fogged up our lens to see the magic with which this world and nature is decorated with. Why institution? Why do you not empower u?. You make us see the chains we are in, yet you have not given any profound means to unlock them.
War and peace happened yesterday, today and is going to happen tomorrow. Sometimes I can’t help but also forced to wonder if university is not systematically targeting student’s sanity. More could be done to take consideration of a student’s struggle. University does not respect the learners and gives into the pride of the robots it manufactures upon graduation. I resisted you from my first year and you know what I will fight you in these last couple weeks. You cannot rob my belief in the profundity of nature, my love for learning, my curiosity for a world beyond Western discourse, and my self-control from submitting to ill-competition with my peers. Life is not about that and as a learner on life long journey neither am I about that. I believe in love, and peace. I have my own voice and my own vision. Bug off, and let me live life. Let me dive into the the unknown of this world. Thank you.