Fifteen faculty members from three of the nation’s best known universities offer the class of 2021 three words of advice: Think for yourself.
In a piece entitled, “Some Thoughts and Advice for Our Students and All Students” the faculty and scholars from a variety of disciplines united around a singular message. The thought leaders acknowledge that thinking for yourself is harder than it sounds as all of us are easy prey for conformity and group think.
As parents this is an important message to reinforce with our teens and young adults. It is all too easy, as opinions instantly whip around on social media, to absorb the ideas of others rather than doing the hard job of thinking for ourselves. But we send our kids to college to learn to think rigorously and develop informed views and we should remind them how important this is.
In a message well worth sharing with your college student, the educators from Harvard, Princeton and Yale remind students that,
Thinking for yourself means questioning dominant ideas even when others insist on their being treated as unquestionable. It means deciding what one believes not by conforming to fashionable opinions, but by taking the trouble to learn and honestly consider the strongest arguments to be advanced on both or all sides of questions—including arguments for positions that others revile and want to stigmatize and against positions others seek to immunize from critical scrutiny.