When we think of sentient beings, we think of artificial intelligence coupled with sleek designs, metallic gloss, and a cool-to-the-touch tactility associated with a polished aesthetic. Intelligence, when placed into the context of robots, seems necessary as well as obvious, for they are built to be computing machines whose knowledge knows no bounds. Characterized by their mindless spewing of factual information at a near perfect average of correctness, nothing less is to be expected from them. In fact, if machines are anything less than flawless, they lose their value and are unable to master their ultimate purpose: approximating absolutes. But, we are not robots. We weren’t created for an indifferent logical perfection, rather, we were crafted in the oceans of intangible wisdom. We weren’t built to maximize a cold rationality; we are heaven’s handmade calligraphies where intellect is only one of many ways to understand the world. Thus, once we unroot ourselves and discontinue to internalize the dogmas of institutionalized environments, we can enter the multiplex and a multiverse of existence.
In university, it feels as if we are on a conveyor belt, being pulled and stretched. Our bodies become pliable, malleable, and formed by the knowledge of others before us. Somewhere in the midst of it all, we lose our sense of curiosity and exploration. Schools purge us of our creativity, our personality, and turns classrooms into vacuums of monotony. We’re not sentient beings, who have vanquished our emotions in the name of augmenting pure success. However, it seems that we may have already lost ourselves in a mental matrix as unrelenting series of data have forcibly assembled themselves into the fibers of our brain. In trying to perfect ourselves, we have calibrated our minds towards artificial states of evolution. We have bulldozed our peaceful homes and transformed them into cellars of intelligence, illuminated by LED lights and white walls. Our mental atmosphere has shifted from peaceful organic meadows, into mining fields of theoretic explosions, coupled with hailstorms of stress.
Schools have taught us to see our own mental states as mere platforms whose functions can be exploited as a means to an end. Because of this, we never come to appreciate our minds for what they are. We learn to view intelligence as mere groundworks for materialistic success; and rarely, appreciate our minds for what they simply are, or value our capabilities outside the realms of the academic. Similarly, we look at emotional and spiritual wisdom as childish in the face of a robotic world. We have internalized the apathy of academicism, and have dismissed life experiences outside the sphere of assignments, and midterm exams. When we strive to become mindless well-oiled machines, it’s easy to disassociate from the world as it truly is. Ultimately, we run the risk of never fully realizing the value of existing by and for itself. Life quickly becomes a race when, in fact, it’s supposed to be a dance of exuberance. We find ourselves tearing at the fibers of our existence in exchange for arbitrary paper awards and public acknowledgment, and as a result, we have been stripped to our bare skeletons. Once unclothed from peace and comfort, we fumble amidst earth in our barren bodies with our minds iced around the edges. We seek a warmth that only comes with realizing that we are perfect the way we are and that we don’t need to become anyone or reach arbitrary numerical scores in order to certify our worth. We were born with the rights to a joyful life, our souls were designed from the seas of significance. We don’t need to wage war on ourselves in order to reach purpose as we were born with destiny etched in our bones. We don’t need to damage our mental health by trying to reach perfection when our DNA is already infused with excellence.
University should be a time where we come closer to understanding who we are. College should be a place where we are not changing ourselves, but digging deeper to understand who we’ve always been. It’s important to take studies seriously, but schools should never push one to the precipice of an “all-or-nothing” mentality. A school environment should never lead one to rationalize sleepless nights or never-ending bouts of anxiety. University should never make us devalue our creative pursuits, nor lead us to chain our wishes and shackle our passions. We should be willing to speak about these issues and reassure one another that getting an education, and showing up is already good enough. We shouldn’t be dislocating our bodies in the pursuit of an arbitrary form of academic success. We shouldn’t look at our present states and discredit our worth, rather, schools should teach us that we already have what we are striving for within. A certificate is a nice gesture, but the significance of education lies elsewhere, activated once we come to master the powers concealed inside. We need to be reminded that schools are a place of guided exploration, where we are discovering who we are. For university shouldn’t transform our minds to fit a mold, but help us manifest what’s already pulsing through our veins and beating inside our chests.
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