An Open Letter from Edward
I am a City College graduate and I am writing this column for other City College students who have questions but don’t know whom to ask. I remember sitting in my first classes, entirely confused, but afraid to admit that I was confused. I have to admit that I thought, at first, that to ask a question was a sign of weakness, a sign that I was not intelligent enough to be in college. Fortunately, during my time at City, I had a professor who saw and understood my situation, and she asked me to meet her in her office. During our discussion, it came up that I thought that college was a place where students came to have their intelligence judged, not expanded, but this professor was quick to tell me that grades and judgment are really only a small part of the college experience. “Look around,” she said, “and you’ll find what you are looking for.”
And after I came out of that meeting I began to see that what she had told me wasn't advice so much as a suggestion, an offering of the services of the school, which I had been refusing all of this time by keeping my head down, working hard at my job and studying hard at school. It seemed I was only going to school to get that piece of paper at the end, not even realizing that I was ignoring some of the most important parts of college: the contacts, the community, the opportunities. In a way, I wasn't learning anything at all until then.
This campus is a rich community of professors, professionals, and your peers. By entering the gates of City College, you have entered a community of intellectual growth—we are a team whose goal is the betterment of all involved. The questions that I was afraid to ask in class are only one type of question that a student may have during his or her college years. Degree requirements, choosing a major or minor, finding extracurricular activities, and everything else can confuse even the brightest of students from time to time. The years you spend here will be a time of many important decisions, but you need not make these decisions alone. Meet with your professors. Meet with your advisors. Meet with your fellow students. This is the culture of learning: do not be afraid to ask questions.
Ask Edward Illustration by Jeffrey Louie