Latest posts by The Octant (see all)
- Reflections on Fulbright University Vietnam: How Should We Engage With Other Asian Liberal Arts Institutions? - June 21, 2019
- From the Black Box to The Globe: Seven Week 7 Highlights - October 20, 2018
- Taking a Gap Year [EYW 2018] - May 20, 2018
Story by Abel Ang, Guest Writer
Hey there, freshmen! Take a deep breath. You’re entering a liberal arts college, and I know that can be scary. In a world where so many people are just getting it wrong, like Trump and Brexiteers, navigating the grey and gray of nuance can be difficult. But why navigate these stormy seas when you already know you’re right? So here’s a quick and easy guide to being right and doing the right thing!
1. Everyone is a 100% rational, lean, mean, thinking machine.
This may come as a surprise to you, but you’re attending college with the best and brightest. One’s emotions and personal experiences never come into play during conversations, so why bother thinking about what those might be? You’re going to need that extra cognitive power to really nail that next premise-conclusion-smackdown. Corollary: If something’s gone wrong in the argument, the other side’s just stupid and probably didn’t deserve to get in anyway.
2. Never listen to a hypocrite.
You aren’t just here to get educated—you’re here to get morally educated. If your interlocutor isn’t 100% consistent in principle and deed, you can be sure there’s nothing of value in their words. You only take lessons from paragons of moral virtue—like yourself.
3. The time to fight is here and now.
No issue is too trivial. It’s always a sign of Worse-Things-To-Come. So tell them why. With your keyboard. At 3 am. There’s no way this could go wrong when everyone’s tired, irritable, and extra argumentative from working on their essays.
4. Remember the law of cause and effect.
Specifically, your cause. Everything happens for a reason. And you know the reason. Anyone who says otherwise is distracting people from the real issues.
5. You’re in a liberal arts college. Act like it.
In case you didn’t get the memo, we’re all liberals here. If we wanted to take classes in a conservative arts college, we’d be somewhere else. Please catch up with the rest of the rich, white, college-educated world.
6. Never. Change. Your. Mind.
What are you? Weak? You didn’t come here to be weak, you came here to learn! So make sure you learn how to defend the beliefs you have in your first year against the nefarious forces of four years of higher education. Your Latin honors depend on this.
Remember, you get far more out of being right than listening, learning, and understanding—so make sure to utilise your time here wisely! College is meant to be a place where everyone’s opinions are exactly the same as yours—we can always put off navigating difference. Or at least until after the votes come in. There is a set of correct questions and answers—and yes, they will be on the test.