Facing new ideas

So, first-years, college is here. You’re experiencing many things. You’re challenging yourself intellectually, making new friends, experiencing voice changes and growing hair in new places.

But most important of these changes (after the hair) is your encountering of new ideas, and having friends that believe the wrong ones even after you best them in a Facebook comment war.

Because of this, you will also find fear of not knowing what to think in college. You’ll know you should be thinking about religion, politics and ethics, but won’t know how. Well, fear not! I have tips that will make your life much less scary.

Choose your friends carefully. If you choose friends that only affirm your beliefs, you aren’t shaken; if you choose friends that only challenge your beliefs, you won’t be trite.

Both of these views are ridiculous in full, though, so I choose a third route — avoidance. If you avoid others completely, you won’t be presented with so many ideas.

Another tool is finding others with a higher ACT score, because they are inherently smarter and more likely to believe the correct things. Don’t actually ask them questions, because that admits weakness. Never ask questions.

If you’re not sure what they think, say things like “So-and-so believes this.” Try to put some condescension in your voice, just in case it’s a silly idea. But not too much, because your smarter friend may agree with it, and then you might even be asked to clarify your position. Avoid this at all costs!

When you read an article and are unsure of its credibility, email it to your smarter friends and see how they respond. Generally, you shouldn’t send them everything you read on the Internet. If you did that, you could be thought less intelligent because something you sent was wrong.

Instead, see if other friends talk about it or link it on Facebook first, and then ask about it. By becoming a sycophant, you’ll appear smarter. And remember! If you appear smarter, you’ll eventually actually be smarter.

Now, even alone, you’ll be tempted to read, and this may present you with new ideas. Because you must avoid thinking, join five organizations on campus and do lots of community service. If all goes well, nobody will know that you’re afraid of thinking. Everyone will simply assume that you are too busy being a leader to do so.

You may think that you’ll have those dreadful, new-idea-filled conversations if you join organizations, but you won’t. You’ll be too busy asking Diane Fout about the night-and-weekend fund, and others will be too busy depending on you to have a conversation. It’s perfect.

College is scary, and so is thinking. You have a reputation to protect, and you also must protect your sanity by avoiding ideas that will make you think. Just try your best to keep thinking as your smarter friends think, and stay busy, busy, busy, and you’ll be just fine.


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