Editorial: you actually wont guess what this editorial is about
Nina Galanter '18
This week, to the surprise of all, I’m talking about something positive, namely the things I really like about Grinnell. Which is not to say that there aren’t a lot of very shitty things about this college, or that some people haven’t had awful experiences while attending. But, though I often forget it, there many things I appreciate about Grinnell.
First and foremost is the student body. In my experience, everyone at Grinnell, if you find the right subject, is genuinely extremely intellectually curious about something. It’s not always something contained in the Grinnell curriculum, but the drive to fully engage with and analyze is there. This makes living and interacting with other students interesting and uplifting. This is something I’ve seen consistently at Grinnell, but not that often in students from other colleges.
On the subject of Grinnell student culture, it’s also important that conformity and achieving a certain standard of appearance or behavior (beyond not being an asshole) isn’t a large part of that culture. While I’m not going to pretend this is a judgement free campus, it’s a lot better than other campuses I’ve been on. As a person who generally aims for borderline presentable and doesn’t always get there, not having to look put together every day is pretty nice. More significantly, we also don’t have to put up with bullshit gender norms.
Another thing I really appreciate about Grinnell is the faculty. Most professors are concerned primarily with being educators. They actively try to improve upon their teaching based on student feedback, and I’ve heard some mention educational theory as well. And I don’t feel like I am wasting someone’s time when I go to office hours or ask a question. While this is probably the norm at small schools, the fact that Grinnell professors are invested in teaching has been incredibly helpful to my education.
A final aspect of Grinnell I appreciate is the emphasis on social justice and service as opposed to prestige or material success (not that a certain level of material stability isn’t important). The drive for social justice is present in the student body, as can be seen from the many students involved in activism, volunteering, or both. It’s present in the faculty, and in the staff, for all I’ve complained about the administration. I know that the CRSSJ in particular has been a huge part of my social justice education.
Overall, I’m grateful for the ways Grinnell has changed me for the better. When I arrived at Grinnell, I was just trying to get to into a good grad school and I had silly ideas about how I and everyone else should act. I think that if I had attended another college I considered, it’s likely I would have stayed that way. Instead, because of Grinnell, I still want to get into a good grad school but I’ve calmed down about it and realized being a good person is kind of important as well, and while I still have a lot of baseless ideas about how the world works, I like to think there’s a lot less of them.
While one personal experience may not say much about Grinnell overall, especially the experience of someone like me who’s operated with significant privilege both on campus and off, I think it’s worth considering (in a non-donation inducing way) the potentially positive aspects of this place.