Intelligence, CWRU Style

Un-sCWRU your lifestyle

Theresa Smetona

B’s are always undeserved, and receiving one is sufficient reason to cry or threaten the professor with retaliatory action.

You not only are more knowledgeable than the rest of your classmates, but you probably are better informed than any given professor as well.

As an engineering student, you are undoubtedly smarter than all the plebeians who attend classes on Mather Quad.

You’re pre-med and thus allowed to throw fits in which you stress about your privileged life and the weighty responsibilities that attend your incredible intelligence.

Having a lab report due means any friend’s problems or basic human duties become insignificant.

Tweeting about being at Kelvin Smith Library affirms your dedication and hard work, and points to your future success.

Complaining about your work load and bragging about your all-nighters puts you in the cool kids club.

You are exceptionally smart and talented, and are entitled to flaunt your intellectual superiority in any way you please, the more frequently the better.

In short, you are a student at Case Western Reserve University.

At what point did accepting any of the above become a matter of course at CWRU? Parading around campus while boasting about your extracurriculars or future career plans is really not advisable behavior. No one is impressed.

Given that we were all accepted into the same university, chances are that everyone has a relatively comparable intelligence level and a similarly extensive list of achievements. So you have a good GPA; would you like a cookie? So you “aced” your MCAT; sorry I don’t have a gold star to give you.
This is not to say that you should not be proud of your accomplishments. If you just got into graduate school or received a research fellowship, congratulations on all of your hard work! But constantly letting the rest of us know that you are being “recruited by several law schools” is unnecessary and obnoxious.

Everyone is focused on academic success, but how many of us truly embrace the spirit of learning? Many students enroll in 101-level foreign language classes in which they are already quite proficient, simply because they want an easy A—a complete waste of tuition dollars and time. As CWRU students, we have a tendency to become entrapped in an academic bubble, in which we gauge our worth by cumulative GPAs and the amount of time spent on homework. But we are so focused on living the so-called demanding life of a CWRU student that we ignore what is going on in the world around us. The other day, a peer asked me who Angela Merkel was. Sadly, this type of comment is completely routine. How can we complacently consider ourselves as worldly, successful individuals when our knowledge and experience is so limited?

Intelligence is multi-faceted, and is not solely defined by the ability to correctly remember a chemical reaction. What about social intelligence? What about curiosity? What about cultural cognizance? Instead of only emerging from your room to go to Kelvin Smith Library, why don’t you lift your head from your books once in a while and really look at the world around you? Read the news. Catch up with political debates, both in our country and others. Go to Severance Hall. (This comment was inspired by a group of students who were complaining that they had to go listen to one of the best orchestras in the country and suffer through an hour of “boring classical music.”) Once you graduate, the vast majority of people will not be impressed by a high grade in thermo, but they will remember an ignorant comment about a cultural custom or political dispute. So let’s stop relying on a heavy course load as a method of self-validation and start caring a little more about what’s happening outside our bubble.

Theresa Smetona is a senior majoring in Spanish and English. In her free time, she likes to drink coffee and consider the possible benefits of her future unemployment.