Many students begin their college career with the thought that they already know most of what is going to be taught. Are you that type of student? Ask yourself these questions
■ Do you feel the university that you are attending is not where you should be, but your first choice schools wouldn’t accept you or you couldn’t afford to attend there?
■ Do you resent being made to take some freshman courses that you think are beneath you?
■ Do you look down on your classmates because of the high schools they attended?
■ Do you generally ignore the advice you are given about college because you know what you need to do?
■ Do you believe your initial courses will primarily be a repeat of high school classes?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, your intellectual arrogance is likely to get you into trouble. Every faculty member with 20 years or more of dealing with freshmen students can tell you numerous stories of students whose intellectual arrogance led to their down fall.
If intellectual arrogance is a problem for you, you should consider the following:
- College is a great leveling ground. No one cares about your high school, your grades, your family background, or your test scores once you have been admitted. All students are treated the same once classes start.
- You have to prove yourself all over again. Past successes mean nothing if you don’t perform.
- You are probably at a disadvantage compared to some of your classmates who have had struggles, either academically or personal (or both). They know how to confront challenges that you have yet to face.
- Get rid of the attitude. College students can be unmerciful to classmates who have an intellectual arrogance.
- Start seeing what you can learn from your classmates. You’ll be surprised by the things you can learn about the “ways of the world” from classmates whose life experiences are very different from your’s.
- Start learning how to relate to people with different backgrounds and intellectual levels. If you want to be successful. You will need to relate to people from very different backgrounds. You can do this by joining groups that attract a wide cross-section of people.
- Develop a personal aura of quiet confidence. Quiet in this context means that you are humble about your achievements. You don’t brag or put yourself above others. You don’t always put yourself in a lead position on teams. You support others.
- Develop role models of very successful people who are very modest about their accomplishments. You can learn a lot from such people, especially if they have written an autobiography.
College is a great place to learn how to be a human being in our world society. You may learn as much about yourself and how you relate to others as you learn from classes. You won’t learn these critical lessons if you approach college with an intellectual arrogance.