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August 10, 2009 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Let’s be the best

Was anyone else horrified when they saw the Victoria University advert “Get amongst the best” way back in summer? My thoughts screamed, “WHAT?! Vic’s not the best… far from it. Those claims about NASA employees and all the rest are obviously made up… It makes them appear so stupid”… etc etc etc. Their last advertising campaign “It makes you think” had some hint of intellectualism, but this was regression to a blatant empty appeal on people’s drive for success.

Then in November I attended a conference held at Vic called “Critical Thoughts”, hosted by the Anglican Chaplaincy. The topic was on recovering higher education. The university ideal of pursuit of truth and knowledge has been lost. There was stimulating conversation about the changing face of the university in the 21st century and the ways that a functional and yet inspiring and progressive university could be regained. One problem recognised was that students now attend university as a logical step after school, and therefore it is often perceived as something to be endured rather than enjoyed. It is no longer an honour and privilege to study; rather we work to just pass the courses. Moreover, the university seems to be very impersonal and just about ‘bums on seats’, and this diminishes the atmosphere of learning.

How do we overcome this mindset and reclaim the university heritage? Don’t we actually want to be learning and engaging with the forefront of knowledge?

As I thought about it, I realised that I could see “Get amongst the best” as an affront and annoyance, or I could take it as a challenge. We, the students, make up Victoria. Are we the best? We could be… in the way we approach things, in our enthusiasm, in our questioning, in our analysing, in our researching…

And if we did choose to be the best that we could be, it would benefit all involved… Definitely ourselves! We would learn and mature more and be more employable on graduation. It would benefit the university, other students, and society.

So why not? Why don’t we be the best? Take the opportunity, not listening to what anyone else might say, not being limited by the institution, but making the most of our time and resources. Let’s try our best, not because it will validate Vic’s advertising campaign but because it’s what will benefit our lives and other people’s lives most in the future. Let’s be the best!


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