Licitra: “The American way” isn’t the absolute truth

Nick Bunker gives a lecture on Ben Franklin in the Student Center, in one of the many ways that Rowan gives students a chance to expand their knowledge. - A&E Editor / Gregg Johnson

Throughout my life I’ve always maintained a very patriotic state of mind. As I grew older and more well informed, I realized that our nation had some issues that needed to be worked out, but my love for this country never faltered.

America is the place where I was raised and where my liberties and freedoms would always be protected. It’s no surprise that when it came time to go to college I heard whispers of how universities spoil your mind and feed into anti-American mindset that older generations find a bit scary. So I braced myself for this alleged brainwashing, and pushed myself forward with the intent of keeping my personal ideologies intact.

I ended up finding something different. 

Throughout the early years of school, the curriculum consists of a simplified version of subjects that is progressively  reinforced the further you get in your academic career. For instance, you begin learning math by working with addition and subtraction, move on to fractions and division, until you reach calculus. Suddenly there aren’t even numbers anymore!

This system makes sense, as it lays a foundation early on that is built on in years to come. This remains true for other subjects like history or social studies, where information is “watered down” for early generations. Nuances are left out in favor of delivering only certain “facts”.

As an example, when learning about the Revolutionary War few are told that the Boston massacre may have been incited by the Americans. Or, if your class is learning about World War II, your teacher would likely hesitate to mention “Operation Meetinghouse”, that resulted in more deaths than either Nagaski or Hiroshima. 

At the college level of education, there is no longer a reason to hold information back.

As young adults, college students are  fully capable of grasping how the world works.

One of the first differences that I have found to be commonplace here at Rowan, is participating in classroom discussions about historical and current events that were ‘skimmed over’ in those early years. These teachings are not part of a  malicious plan to brainwash a generation in order to create an ideal society. Rowan professors aren’t super villains in disguise, trying to sow the seeds of dissent in our young minds. They are educating and ensuring students have a full understanding of how the world works.

To some, this kind of information dump can be overwhelming. It may even feel like all those years of early childhood education have been full of lies and now your eyes have finally been opened. But that isn’t the case. Your being told this now so that you may form your own opinions in the most educated manner possible. 

Despite my proclaimed love of the American way early on, this is not a covert attempt to sway anyone to share in this belief.

What’s important is that, as a Rowan student, you begin to understand how you want to perceive the world. From here on out things are not going to be sugar-coated. The world is a scary place that doesn’t pull any punches, and the things that happen in it won’t always make sense. Nobody is asking our generation to figure it all out.

As a college student, you’re here because you made the choice to equip yourself with the proper knowledge. You’ll find your way to make it all make sense.

The training wheels are off but that just means there’s nothing left to hold you back. Take what you’ve learned and put it to good use. Then before you know it, your a moving part of that world. 

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