Timeless truths from the champion that span generations
Editor’s note: The staff relates past Champion op-eds to the present day.
From Kim Valcanoff’s “Academics do not a student make” (Vol. 1, No. 1; October 1983):
“(W)hat constitutes good academics? Certainly, the quality of professors and the basic structure and position of an institution are major factors; however, the single greatest factor in determining the quality of education is the student’s own sense of responsibility.
“In essence, the student is the key to his own education. If he wants good, solid academics, he will get just that. Being goal-oriented and self-disciplined is the first step to personally applied academics. …
“It is the student who makes the academics, not the academics (that) make the student. The student makes a decision of the will, choosing the quality of his education.”
Oh boy, do we students need this today. So many students blame the professors or the environment. And yes, there are solid arguments to be made that the professor sets the tone for the work, or that the environment isn’t suitable for studying needs. But I think oftentimes students find excuses to not do their very best.
One professor I know related novel-writing to writing his dissertation thesis. He said that he knew peers who were far smarter than he is, but they didn’t complete their doctorate theses. Why? Because they didn’t put in the continuous effort to keep up with the workload of their theses.
There are many ways to escape from work. One pressing example in academics today is ChatGPT, which offers immediate answers to any problem. But in the end, using these tools for our academics won’t help us learn. The effort that we students put in is what really counts.
From Beth Beckham’s “Can we prove ourselves?” (Vol. 1, No. 1; October 1983):
“(The Student Government Association) recognize(s) college students as responsible persons — responsible for their taste in dress, style and grooming.
“A student is not a robot who requires every move, every decision, every action to be dictated to him. Rather, the student is an individual beginning his first, faltering steps away from home and the authority thereof. By this stage in life, an individual needs to become responsible for his decisions. …
“By giving the student body a looser reign under which it can make decisions, the administration is giving us more responsibility. …
“The students at LBC have been given a chance to prove themselves as responsible adults. There is a warning to be issued, however. If the loosened reigns are taken as an opportunity to step past the realm of a dynamic testimony for Christ, then the reigns will be tightened once again.
“We have before us an opportunity to prove ourselves. The responsibility we learn on campus now will strengthen our Christian testimony in the future.”
When I was a freshman in Commons II, I got stuck in an elevator with 30 guys. I was one of the first people on the elevator, so I don’t blame myself for my hall’s decision to all pack in as many guys as could fit. But still, being stuck for three hours with sweaty guys will make you understand the consequences of stupid decisions, how they ruin present and future life.
I think that Liberty students today have taken for granted what it looks like to have responsibility. An outsider to Liberty may think, “rules, rules, rules,” because the Liberty Way has lots of those. But students forget what they are allowed to do, and those freedoms inherently produce a responsibility that we shouldn’t be flippant about. We have the ability to express ourselves through our actions, words, clothing, etc. Are we expressing ourselves responsibly?
Gilmer is the opinion editor for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on X