Academic Humility

The phenomenon of students complaining about their schoolwork is probably older than the phenomenon of schools. It is practically a part of our genetic makeup.

Luckily, the long arc of time has allowed most of humanity to come to recognize the benefits of schoolwork— difficult schoolwork especially. It pushes us to become more than individuals, to improve society by improving ourselves, to ask questions that shake worlds.

One of the wonderful benefits of attending a college like Concordia is that students can expect to be pushed to meet this standard by their professors. Whether we like it or not, they will expect us to put time and effort into our work. And, when appropriate, we can also expect them to provide us with criticism that will help us grow and learn.

Because praise can only take us so far. It is in the nature of humanity to need improvement, and we must accept that criticism, rather than affirmation, is sometimes the only way to get there. To put it another way: if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the oven.

There’s been a bit of buzz lately about students “standing up” to harsh words from a professor. Yes, at times our feelings may get hurt when we’re told we’re not perfect. But how else do you expect to grow? Why say you want to be challenged when all you really want is a pat on the back?

In the Concordian office, on an old piece of printer paper on the wall by the editorial desks, Martin Luther is paraphrased thus:

“How dare you not learn all you should know? How dare you not tell all you do know?”

Academic rigor—and the freedom to pursue it—is as much the responsibility of the student as it is of the faculty, staff and administration of a college. Concordia prides itself on being “academically challenging,” and it certainly can live up to this claim in many respects. But Concordia itself can only be responsible for so much. Take pride in your work by learning, when appropriate, to be humble.

Peace homes,

Mary Beenken, Editor-in-Chief

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