Drake: Geneseo students should cooperate, not compete

Geneseo is steadily establishing itself as an undergraduate liberal arts school that can compete with the higher-priced private universities. The college is known for an increasingly selective admittance, resulting in classes made of the top percentage of high school graduates and some of the most involved students around. The problem with so many wonderful things all packed into one small school? Our egos are getting a little ahead of us.

I’ve heard many a teacher reference, “Well, you were smart enough to get into Geneseo,” as a reason for being able to accomplish something. It is taken for granted that we’re an intelligent student body that is capable and motivated. How convenient that now that we’re in college, there is a large quantity of people on this campus who are very intelligent and not afraid to show it. At all.

It seems as if in every class there is that person who gets wrapped up in their own explanation and loses track of their goal – answering the question. It’s easy to do, trying to formulate a coherent response on a few hours of sleep. Usually this results in long-winded responses that at first sounds very academic but really are flowery passages that don’t get to a real point.

Some people make a point of formulating a complicated response to blow the mind of the professor and impress all of their classmates. In all honesty, sometimes it’s better to just get your idea across without trying so hard to sound smart.

There is certainly nothing wrong with forwarding a brilliant comment when you were inspired by a part of a text or whatever the topic of class discussion. The difficulty arises when people go out of their way to try to prove their intelligence, making themselves look aloof and intimidating some of their classmates into remaining silent in the process.

The culture and atmosphere of Geneseo fosters academic excellence, but this culture has developed in such a way that it is becoming a highly competitive environment. Competition can motivate people into working harder and producing better work than they might otherwise; I have nothing against some friendly competition. It is the lack of teamwork that’s a problem.

Working with others is one of those basic lessons we are taught in kindergarten but somehow we forget along the way. Collaboration can help us accomplish some great things. Consider this: If our school collectively represents some of the best and brightest of our generation, combining our individual talents can create something better than one person can do on their own.

People who are out there for themselves, working solely to prove how much smarter they are than everyone else, are really just holding themselves back. We all got into Geneseo, we’re all smart enough to be here, so what do you feel you have to prove?