You shouldn’t assume college students know it all

By Martha Lueck

As I walked through the English department in Reavis Hall, I found myself feeling insecure about all of the things I didn’t know. It’s easy to assume that others know exactly what you know. But the truth is, we don’t all know the same things.

Melissa Daciolas, sophomore accounting and business management major, is aware that everyone has different knowledge.

“Everyone did not learn the same things as other people did because they come from different high schools,” Daciolas said.

Gordon Kirchner, freshman computer science major, learned this first-hand during summer band camp. He was previously unaware that not everyone’s high school had a marching band.

“When [some students] get to band camp, they don’t know how to march or anything because they haven’t done it before,” Kirchner said.

Just because you do not know something to begin with does not mean that you have to feel like you’re behind in acquiring knowledge. In the case of an English class with extensive vocabulary, you wouldn’t necessarily know every word used in the lecture. Yes, you can get an idea by listening to the context. But even if you don’t know the exact definition, at least you’re paying attention for future reference. So you shouldn’t feel judged if you can’t fully explain it.

When you think about the fact that you’re in college, it’s easy to think you’d know everything that a fifth grader knows, but your memory isn’t at its highest peak. You have to obtain so much information as it is. If you’re not a math major or you don’t practice math every day, it would be understandable if you forget the quadratic formula.

And even if certain information is part of your major, people shouldn’t assume you would remember everything about it. Keenan Langston, freshman computational math major, experienced this when his friend had a question about stats homework.

“I’ve never taken stats, even though I am a math major,” Langston said. “I felt like she was assuming that just because I was learning one type of math, I would know about other types of math as well.”

Aside from a person’s major, appearance has a lot to do with people’s assumptions regarding knowledge. Although Greg Long, professor for allied health and communicative disorders, feels looks cannot solely determine intelligence, he understands that people use it as a basis for their assumptions.

“The more attractive you are, the more positively people respond to you because people will think you’re more friendly, smarter, kinder, etc.,” Professor Long said.

I’ll shamefully admit to assuming that someone who may not have looked very friendly didn’t know much. But looking back on it, I see how this does undermine intelligence. Instead of degrading people by placing a not-so-pretty face to an “ignorant” mind, we should try to look beyond what we see. We cannot simply base intelligence on looks or experiences because their minds are beyond us.

“Don’t judge others because you don’t know their life,” Long said. “Where you’re at makes more of a difference than any inherent personality traits.”

It is important to remember that while no one has an encyclopedia installed in his or her brain, everyone has at least some knowledge. No one is meant to be read from the outside or questioned like a Magic 8 ball with a limited number of redundant responses. The human mind can be looked at in a positive light, regardless of how much knowledge it holds. We make discoveries all the time. So knowledge can be seen as a surprise to us and the people we associate ourselves with. Our lack of knowledge can be seen as something that we learn through questions that we did not previously have the answer to. It’s something that becomes part of our knowledge, not something to be ashamed of.