By Molly Thornton
At this point in time, we are all coming to the realization that the rollercoaster of the last three months is still rolling, and there is no end in sight. We are all at wits ends, and reaching dates in the timelines of our lives at which decision making can not be prolonged. In this time, the fight for Antioch can feel futile and exhausting, and better left abandoned than lived through for another moment. In this time of great struggle, and want to give up hope, the only thing I can think to do is to share with you some of the thoughts I sort through when in extreme doubt, which give me the strength to fight for one more day. I apologize now for the disorganized, self-indulgent and rambling document you will find following this introduction.
Molly B. Thornton (2nd Year Student)
Do I only protest higher education because it’s not accessible to all? No, I think there’s more to it.
It’s more about the worries I have about privilege, not fully understanding the purpose of all this knowledge, and wondering if it is fully utilized. It’s a fear of waste. Of wasted time, and knowledge. Of money, and of other resources. I have a fear of knowledge with inaction. I guess I think knowledge that goes unused is wasted. And by used, I’m not sure what I mean.
Is knowledge power? I can’t decide. And I wonder things like, should I be in college? I don’t know what I’m studying for. My classes cover entirely separate areas of knowledge, and I fear that I am neither getting everything out of school that I could be, nor that I will now or ever use it all. But what is use?
A big fear of mine, which may or may not be based entirely in fact, is an idea I have that many students stay in school too long, that intellectuals, and those who study above and beyond college, and even graduate school, do no service with their knowledge. So I suppose that by use I mean that students are obligated to use their knowledge by putting it into action in the real world, by giving back to their community, locally or globally.
I am fearful that there are groups of people who have gone through years and years of higher education, but the only use their knowledge is put to, is sitting in their parlor with like-minded people, chit-chatting, politicking, maybe discussing science, or history, or sociology.
The ONLY use.
It is important to talk about such things among peers. Not only Antiochians need to process. But if this is the only use we put to our knowledge, why then, a large sum of money, resources, energy, and opportunities have been entirely wasted. This thought is so devastating, I can hardly stand to think it.
But as I finish the thought, I have a revelation as to why it is that despite my uncertainties about the system of higher education, I am spending days and nights committed to the truth that Antioch College must not close.
Because students at Antioch College do not grow up to be the dallying intellectuals I fear. We do not put our educations to waste, nor do we become so high on higher education that we lose sight of the ground, and the gooey grimy world in which real people toil.
That is because this is no ordinary education. I’ve been told this time and time again, but now, I feel it in my whole self, an extraordinary truth. Although Horace Mann had his wicked downfalls, as all humans do, we are right to live by his lasting quote that we are to win a victory for humanity, or die in shame.
We stay down to earth, because of our commitment to cooperative education. We alternate between the elite life of college studies, and the working world to keep it real. We learn that literature, psychology, and international studies have no meaning if we do not figure out how to apply them outside of the classroom.
We have specific understandings of respect, and expect a high level of it from ourselves and each other. We expect a high level of communication about academic issues, governance structure, and in bed. We practice and test each other while we’re at school with a “culture of confrontation” which allows us to challenge each others thoughts and understandings in a constructive way and helps us challenge ourselves as well. These confrontations are one of the greatest sources of growth (contrary to the beliefs of our administration). We demand transparency and a role in our own governance because these are tokens of respect. And in our personal relationships we ask if our friend wants a hug or not and converse with our lovers over how we want to be touched and what we can do for them, because these conversations lead to a greater understanding, because we have respect.
These are some of our values.
Communication and respect. And our education in these values also must be taken out of Antioch in order to be put to use.
And we take them there. We take them with us every where we go, and we use them. When approached at parties outside of our school we say, “Please ask before you touch me,” and when our bosses say, “because I said so, and I’m in charge,” we keep asking, “Why?” and with this, we challenge others to question the structure of their workplace. And when we encounter situations of injustice, we do not shy away. We confront them with intelligence and RESPECT, because we transcend the limits of higher education, because we are Antiochians.