Hello gentle readers! While I’m recovering from a cold (brought on by Mother Nature having another bipolar episode earlier this week), I’ve invited a guest contributor to the blog. I have the honor and privilege of being a co-mentor with Indy Smith at MCNY, and asked her to submit one of her works. As you’ll see, the word “dazzling” goes far beyond simply describing her smile. Here she shows how education has given her “a new way of thinking” that extends past the realm of academia.
I believe that as Humans we have the tendency to be “swept up” in the concept of self-conservation. We believe that there is little wrong with ourselves according to personal standards and feel no need for change. -At least this is was the case with me- Knowledge is power, and it was only through the knowledge I accreted to attending college that I had the power to attain personal aggrandizement. Through one of my elementary Psychology courses, Psychology 231 (Group, Values and Norms), I was able to attain knowledge of the behavior and thought processes of others and myself, to ameliorate myself.
As the detached observer I often had the tendency to view a situation and attribute adverse characteristics to the disposition of others, without knowing the full impact of the situation. Psychology 231 has taught me that this is defined as the fundamental attribution error, where we may tend to over emphasize the situational factors and underemphasize dispositional factors. I’ve since learned to be patient and not hasty in the judgment of the character of others. It’s easy to come to conclusions without knowing the full extent of the influence that a situation may have on someone’s decisions. A professor might be very professional at work, because their profession demands it, but very laid back at home with their family. This understanding calls for the situation to always be taken into consideration before judging someone’s personality.
I have always surrounded myself with like-minded individuals–people from my background; who share the same thoughts and beliefs–in order to inhibit conflicts and feuds that come with differences. My ignorance becomes evident when we examine a situation where having like minds inhibits criticism. Criticism, as ugly a word as it may sound, is essential for self-improvement. Having a difference of opinions brings insight to things that individuals of a similar mindset may have not considered. This, according to Psychology 231, is the concept of groupthink; a tendency for similar individuals to share the prevailing ideologies and thoughts of their social group. There is no room for criticism if everyone tends to agree on the same decisions. Whether the group is right or wrong is based solely on the concept, as a social class, of what’s acceptable behavior. However what a particular group considers as acceptable may not be acceptable in the eyes of society when compared to traditional moral standards. I’ve since learned to surround myself with many different individuals from many different backgrounds. It’s benefitted me tremendously in making decisions that are weighed thoroughly.
These are only minor examples of where the power that derives from knowledge denounces contemporary individual behavior. It’s said “if you knew better, you’d do better”; now I can attest to the accuracy of this statement due to the personal development I’ve achieved through furthering my education. I can now stress the importance of certain rudimentary courses in college that make up the whole education process. With the knowledge relayed to me, from what may be perceived as a arbitrary class, I can proudly acknowledge a “New Way of Thinking,” that I’ve adopted, and can never fully state it’s entirety with mere words.