The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Is individual thought crushed on college campuses?

Here on campus, we would all like to think we have amazing ideas that, for some reason, God, the universe, Allah or whatever you choose to believe in, instilled in us. We hope that these endowed pearls of wisdom change the course of humanity as we know it. Or maybe we’re sadly mistaken.

Whether this is true or not, some students, including myself, get the impression from some faculty here at SMU that this idea of individual thought is not acceptable in their classrooms. Rather, only their thoughts and ideas are acceptable.

Some professors even believe that a college freshman, sophomore, junior or senior does not have enough life experience to bring to fruition ideas they, as the learned, may have not though of.

In my almost year and a half as an SMU student I have encountered a few, and have heard of more professors who do not appreciate when a student shows a different thought process or opinionsabout something the professor feels is in their scope of knowledge.

A friend of mine has even had plagiarism charges brought against her for a paper she had written because the professor believed a student with her limited knowledge could never have such ideas.

That whole sentence makes a mockery of the idea of a college education in higher learning institutions. We all came here to learn and are paying a pretty penny for that education, but don’t forget SMU, you accepted us. Something about our essays, our grades and beyond caused you to want us here at SMU, because we could bring something to this university that the thousands of students you rejected could and would not.

Obviously, I respect all professors for their time and energy spent in preparing and teaching a class, because, as we all know, none of them get paid enough for the work they do. But why are we all here if not to try and learn new things everyday? Learning shouldn’t be happening only for students, but for teachers as well.

We all have different backgrounds and ideas, why not share them with each other? If we don’t do that here on a college campus, where else could and should these ideas be shared?

If all we are required to do is sit and learn information just to spit it back at the professor, why didn’t I just go to Podunk Community College and get the same information for a fourth of the price?

Students came here to learn and to grow as individuals and as members of a larger community, but no one will grow or learn anything if we are expected only to be robot students.

While this may seem like an extreme example, I do not think that I am far off from reality. I once raised a hand in a class to ask a question, but the professor took my question and proceeded to turn back around to the board and continue his lecture.

I got to know the backside of that professor’s head very well, and in retrospect didn’t do as well as I could have in that class. But in the classes where discussion is encouraged and even promoted, students are more engaged in the learning process and therefore want to learn more about the topic in order to contribute more to discussions.

I, and a lot of other students, have great ideas. We want to do great things to improve life, society or just better ourselves.

How can we ever develop those ideas if those paid to teach us and help us learn just want us to be cookie-cutter images of themselves and agree with every bit of knowledge they throw at us and question nothing?

About the writer:

Rachel Carey is a sophomore political science major. She can be reached at [email protected].

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