Are You Experienced?

As a quick introduction, I’d like to say thanks for coming here to spend a few minutes of your time listening to the ramblings of some university students. Hopefully as time goes on, this will be an interactive process where people who come by here will be able to openly engage with both the authors and others who stopped by. About me quickly, I’m an American student studying at the University of St. Andrews. Psychology is my main area of study and I hope to use my education to improve the well-being of the world around me (definitely sounds like something a beauty pageant contestant would say). My goal through this blog as well as with help from other authors and contributors is to increase the interest of people (especially young people) in getting involved in the open discussion of global affairs. As well, I hope to develop a clearer understanding of the nature of the political theater with aspirations of forming my own political views by digesting the world that we live in. Thanks again for your time, and feel free to send feedback to progressivemansburden@gmail.com.
When it comes to discussing the ins and outs of applied theoretics to modern life and the world in which we live, those that haven’t endured painstaking work in order to become experts in a field are often ostracized from a conversation concerning a specific area of study. “Leave it to the professionals,” or, “Why don’t you focus on something in your area of expertise,” are often thrown around to denote that someone does not contain the necessary qualifications to contribute to a discussion. Sure leading minds in their respective fields deserve due credit based on both their contributions and dedication to the field, yet to suggest that discussion of certain facets of the field are reserved solely for the top members within seems to limit one’s ability to explore and criticize the aspects of an area of study. Although it seems unfair to suggest that any Tom, Dick, or Harry could stand in front of a theater and give a lecture on quantum physics while only knowing how to instruct on the grammar of the English language, one should have the ability to discuss the practical application of such a topic in relation to the world as a whole. Simply because a person is not an economist should not mean that they could not devise a possible economic system based on simplistic principles if such a system were to contain feasible ideas. It could then be supposed that the job of verifying the economic system would then fall into the hands of the economist, but the ability to speculate the possibility of and propose a shift in the way we perceive an issue should belong to the common person.
If I may, I’d like to quote something that my grandfather told me. He said, “College used to be about standing up and screaming and yelling at each other about your beliefs and questioning the world around you.” Despite the obvious hyperbole of students standing up in lecture halls screaming and yelling at one another, I thought he raised a good point about higher education. It seems nowadays that the educational system is molded to conform to a rigid structure in order to groom students for a certain career path. Though this contains several crucial benefits for preparing students to enter the job market in their field of study, it seems like the bigger picture of the world around us is scrapped and put to the side. Along with this, another thing my grandfather said to me was, “Education is not the most important thing about going to university. The education that you get there, you can find on the internet if you take the time and put the effort in to find the information. What is important is going to university, having a good time, and learning what life is really all about.” As you could imagine, this advice is somewhat hard to take to heart because I could not imagine rationalizing to my parents a possible reason for failing out of university would be because my grandfather had told me to not focus as hard on my studies. What I mainly pulled from this advice as I’m sure he was alluding to was to absorb what education I can while I’m here at university while also taking the time to broaden my perspective to the world around me. In the time that I’ve been here at university already, that philosophy has influenced my approach to studies tremendously. I cannot count how many times I’ve discussed the affairs of the world or certain critiques of different aspects of the world with my friends. As well, it’s also fairly cathartic to sit down with a friend and hash out some viewpoints that you have.
This brings me back to the main topic of this post, the ability to openly discuss issues plaguing the world we live in. It might be easy for some university students to stand up on their soapbox and declare that they have simple solutions to problems that have been affecting the world for generations and that if a university student can see the simple solution, why can’t an elected representative see that same solution. An economist would say, ‘who is some random university student to suggest a solution to a problem when they have no knowledge of how the economic system works?’ If one of the benefits of higher education is supposed to be the opportunity for students to question how things in this world work and to try and come up with some rational solution to these problems, is it not fair to allow such students to do such rationalizing? In an effort to allow the most amount of people to participate in the process of societal progression, it seems that one of the most crucial steps should be to incorporate as many people as possible in discussions about important issues that affect us all.

–N.L.

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