September is fully upon us, dear Pandas! There’s a bit of a chill in the air. The leaves are gently falling (though not if you live in Florida or anywhere else really warm). Cafes are rolling out their pumpkin spice-themed drinks. And for many students across the world, the month has heralded the end of our glorious summer and the start of the new school year.
What that means is a whole harvest of hilarious and relatable Tumblr posts and memes about being a student. Our team here at Bored Panda had the utmost pleasure of picking and plucking the best of the best student posts to share with all of you Readers, fresh from the farm to your screen. Whether you’re currently in school or at university or haven’t been inside a classroom in years, these are bound to make you smile. Especially if you’ve ever had to write a paper hours before the deadline (no judgment, we’ve all been there).
As you scroll down, remember to upvote your fave posts and let us know in the comments which of these made you laugh the hardest. Take out your pens and notebooks and let’s begin!
Education is all about improving our skills, forging connections with other people, and trying to get a tiny bit closer to the truth about, well, pretty much everything.
However, getting at the truth of things, whether you’re in school or college (or even at work), can be more difficult than it would seem at first glance. Learning, whether in class or when you’re an adult, means constantly staying curious about things, trying out your hand at new hobbies and interests, and questioning what you find online. This can be even harder when you realize that even the adults teaching you can make mistakes.
Lenore Skenazy, the president of Let Grow and the founder of the Free-Range Kids movement, explained to me during a previous interview how to challenge authority figures in a friendly way if we believe that what they’re saying might be wrong. It’s as applicable to students in their communication with teachers as it is to employees who think their managers might have missed an important detail (or two!). Diplomacy and manners are incredibly important here; there’s no room for aggression because the end goal isn’t to get into an argument.
At the core of challenging anyone who might be spreading falsehoods lies diplomacy. You might not like what your local authority figure is saying. You might believe that they’re spouting utter nonsense. However, instead of being combative from the get-go, it’s best to calm down and try to find some common ground. Your mission should be to learn something together with them, not to prove that you’re the best and most knowledgeable person in the classroom/office.
“The key is to discover things together. If something sounds strange or unlikely, respond with curiosity—ask the person to tell you more, and how they found this information out, and where you should go if you want to delve into it further,” Lenore explained to Bored Panda.
“Then if the sources they give you seem dubious—well, probably so is whatever they gleaned from them. But if the sources seem legit, read them with an open mind. They may be right after all!” the expert continued.
According to Lenore, it’s not “cruel or crazy” to believe that someone out there might “have their facts wrong,” as absolutely everyone has made mistakes or been wrong about something in the past. Unless someone is very deliberately trying to deceive or manipulate you by spreading lies, it’s best not to get angry if you know for a fact that they’ve got a piece of info wrong.
“Ever since the Age of Enlightenment, humans have realized that the best way to get closer to the truth is by saying something out loud and seeing if it stands up to scrutiny. If not—hooray. We are one step closer to the truth because we've just jettisoned a misconception,” Lenore shared with Bored Panda.
“If it turns out that you do find some information that contradicts what the other person—your teacher or boss or anyone—has stated as true, again, the best approach is not confrontation. It's assuming that the other person didn't mean to steer you wrong,” Lenore said that we should seize the learning opportunities provided instead of being aggressive in our desire to be right.
“So if you bring in information that contradicts the person, don't say, ‘SEE??? YOU WERE WRONG!' Say something more like, ‘I was so interested in what you were talking about that I did some research and now I'm a little confused. Can we look at this together?'" Lenore gave an example of how to diplomatically challenge others.
“Being accusatory only makes people defensive. So don't be rude, be engaged. This works in the classroom, in the office, and pretty much everywhere,” Lenore said that once people get defensive, the potential learning opportunity that you had might be lost. Instead, aim for helping create an environment that facilitates learning, not one that increases resentment and clashes between everyone.