We’re Not Optional

If you are new to the College you are probably a bit surprised to find out that we demand things of you. We expect you to show up, get outside your comfort zone, engage with people different from you, keep pace and contribute to what we are trying to achieve. When you fail to do this, we will get after you. If you fail to do this repeatedly, we will ask you to find another college to call home.

Why the hard line you ask? Isn’t what you do in college supposed to be your choice? Isn’t this the place where you can personalize your experience and discover who you are? Yes and no. Getting to the one—developing a unique set of experiences and talents that will make you of value in the world and get you the career and life you seek requires some personal choice. This is why we have electives and a vast number of co-curricular activities from which you can choose. But a successful college experience also requires that you be engaged in what you are doing– willing to take risks, willing to participate in your classes, willing to be outside your comfort zone and willing to share your experiences and views with people different from yourself. It also requires that you master a common body of knowledge and learn to use that knowledge to take action. Frankly you will not succeed here or in life if you aren’t willing to develop these qualities and skill sets. Worse yet, your unwillingness to sign on to this journey diminishes the college for the rest of us.

That’s because learning is social. Education is a collective good. What we demand of ourselves matters. The failure of one of us to show up, bring our A game, and engage reduces the experience for all of us. That just won’t do here. So, if you find that we ask too much of you. That we don’t inspire you to learn or that you would rather be doing different things. That’s okay. You have choices and we’re sure you’ll find another college or university that better meets your needs. But we will not yield to you. The rest of us are committed to building something great together. Sorry, but we believe we’re not optional.

2 thoughts on “We’re Not Optional

  1. Dean Jarley,
    Your columns are always great but this one really nails it!! I am going to use your column in my business. With a few minor tweaks, you could have been writing about my company (or many others for that matter) who are in pursuit of excellence.

    I am a CBA Alumni (1982) who owns a Upscale Design-Build construction company in Stuart and serving the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches. Our son, Stephen Bowers is in his second year in the CBA and in the Honors College. We are so blessed to your leadership. Keep up the awesome work. UCF and the World are better for it.

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