the Gauntlet

Outside the walls of academia

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College is a great place to flaunt one's individuality. While a veritable breeding ground of liberal thinking and open-mindedness, it's not surprising that unique personalities flourish or that inhibitions fail to hinder those who would elsewhere be shy. Here at the University of Calgary, it's easy to make a statement and offer new--sometimes unconventional--ideas to your peers. But what about life after university?

While it's nice to see that diversity emerges among us when we're given the opportunity to freely express ourselves, the outside world is ready and waiting to take this freedom away and measure us against the status quo. Failure to meet this standard often results in criticism and ostracism from our peers. As a result, most of us will someday hang our best ideas on the wall beside our diplomas as mementos of our time spent in college. Even now we tend to leave our wild side at home when we flirt with the adult world.

When was the last time you ran into the Sign Guy off-campus? How often do you see your outspoken classmates on the evening news putting all their passion and ideas to work in the real world? Practically never.

University is an intellectual's playground. There are always people who stick around long after their playmates have gone home, but most have their fun, calm down, grow up and leave forever.

It's unfortunate that the end of college often coincides with the end of uninhibited individual thinking. Imagine a world where everyone stayed as liberal as they were in university. Perhaps mayhem would ensue. Perhaps the great ideas we conjured in a society where no one followed the status quo would change the world.

Perhaps we'll never know.