Ah, the joys of spring! The bees come out, the sun peeks in, and everyone spends time wondering why they chose an Oregon college instead of that school in LA. Our free time lets us go and work on those projects we’ve all been putting off, like that study of plant life or the significance of the Willamette valley historically. And we get a chance to converse with others who share our interests and similar projects.
In the process, we have continually shut out others of different fields and disciplines, believing our own way of thinking is the correct one. The result is a nasty bit of rivalry involving every field of study blocking others out.
I think we’ve all witnessed this at Linfield at one point or another. Sciences and humanities are especially prone to this: ignoring how often their thoughts and ideas cross over. People keep trying their hardest to shove every major into its own little box. Do we really think the world is that simple?
The point is that here at Linfield we are getting stuck in our educational areas. This is a liberal arts college where many different fields and philosophies are emphasized. Here, critical thinking should be our strongest ally, not our own major or minor.
The root of the problem is our unwillingness to accept that this thinking is more important than your discipline. The criticisms your classmates and professors make of other disciplines only show how little they’ve actually endeavored into those fields. It’s short-sighted and uninformed to ignore ideas that don’t fit directly into your personal line of thinking.
There is progress to be made here in the form of unity. It begins with ourselves and an acceptance and readiness to learn as a community, not as individual groups.
People need to think outside of the box more and begin searching for those connections that drive many of us to succeed. I’m not talking about tying ourselves to the world; rather, I’m talking about tying ourselves to each other. We get so caught up in school work and our own studies that we forget how insignificant each individual part is. Like the body, the college only functions when its parts work together.
Focusing more on the big picture reveals that you and that loud girl on the floor below you are both working on identical projects through different lenses. Working together could alter your views on a subject and build a bridge to a new perspective. Let’s not act like we’re all independent from one another; we probably each have more similarities than differences.
If I can be so bold, I’d like to give out a piece of homework to everyone reading this: Try to think about how your major is applicable to real life and try to think about it as it applies to other majors. Take it a step further: brainstorm ideas with someone in a completely different discipline and talk about how your learning experiences have related. You will find commonalities and you will be surprised how much your counterpart has to offer.
It turns out that everything you learned and everything they learned actually intersects and meshes.
So go out into the sun; talk about how you see the world. Brag about your major a bit, and listen to others do the same. Know that all of you are working together to create this learning environment and all of you are a little right and a little wrong when you say your major is the most useful.
Our world relies on these majors and disciplines in different ways, right? Let’s take advantage of it. Go out and invite your anthropology friend to your biology club or make your math buddy come to “Pizza and Politics.” Let’s lie on the warm grass feeling just a little bit more open to the world.
Matt Olson can be reached at email@example.com
Matt Olson, columnist