A Little Slice of Freedom

9 Oct

In thinking about my past 3 years here at W&L, one word in particular stands out in my mind: freedom. Yes, of course there’s the freedom that all students going off to college feel: the freedom of having no parental supervision, the freedom of choosing what classes to take and when to take them, the freedom of doing what you want when you want. In addition to all of these, W&L embraces freedom within the classroom. Here, it is no longer about pure memorization or writing an essay on a narrow topic chosen by the teacher (the bane of my high school existence). Professors at W&L encourage students to research, analyze, and think critically about something meaningful to them. I am a lover of sports, so I have had the freedom of incorporating this passion into my schoolwork. Sophomore year, I took a “research methods in communications” class where I conducted research and wrote a paper about the change over time in how professional athletes celebrate victories. Because this was such a fascinating topic for me, I still remember it and talk about it in conversations today! In an art history class I am currently taking, the professor noticed before the semester began that it contained a lot of business-related majors. For this reason, he is giving us a project that will help us build those types of skills that we are interested in, hoping to engage us more productively. He has given us the freedom to design our own art exhibition by choosing the pieces, sending “fake” letters to museums to attain those pieces, and making a 3-D model of our final display. I think it is safe to say that the last thing professors at W&L are trying to do is bore us. In fact, from my experience over the past three years, they are doing quite the opposite. They are teaching us the tools and skills to succeed, allowing us to use them to meet our own interests and develop our own perspectives. Now that is freedom.

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