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Teachers & Students Learn Together

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One of our professors leading a session with some students.
At the heart of every class, are professors and students both actively seeking to learn from each other.

“You shall find, that there cannot be a greater spur to the attaining what you would have the eldest learn, and know himself than to set him upon teaching it his younger brothers and sisters” –John Locke

First and foremost, I’d like to state that it is truly a pleasure for me to have been accepted in METU NCC. Very rarely does one get the chance to learn and meet so many diverse ethnicities and cultures culminating together; thus, establishing a world based on intellect. The hopes and dreams that I’ve once seen as too far or just unreachable are now visible. It is almost as if the fog has finally lifted. All I have to endure now is a sprint for just a tad bit longer to achieve what I’ve always wished for.

What I’ve found to be quite remarkable was the idea that we all learn from one another: teachers and students alike. At the end of the day, there is just too much to learn for us to become familiar with everything. And no matter how silly or simple a thing may seem at first, it may as well become a great influencer on the person in the future; thus, becoming an essential component of that person’s identity.

Learn to Change

Deep down, we all wish for change. We aren’t perfect beings, nor will we ever be. But that shouldn’t be the excuse that drops us down to our knees. Becoming a person that both you and, your society will benefit from is simply an innate desire we’ve all learned to have since childhood. How we approach it is what differs.

Some choose to surrender to whatever small obstacle awaits them. Others learn to stay stubborn, strong and defiant against all odds. But I think we can all agree from experience that possessing strong will is just not enough alone. To blind oneself from what you are really facing is also a weakness. In other words, we may term both ignorance and arrogance as weak.

This is perhaps one of the most important lessons I’ve learned on campus. Sheer determination and rigour are not enough. You are a member of society. Thus, it should only seem reasonable that efficiency is attained through the combined diligence of many. What may take you nights to understand may take another a mere 2 hours, and vice versa.

Many instructors have taught me this, whether it may be through group discussions in classes or through their own collaboration with others to work on high-level projects. Many things might not go your way, but does that really matter? As long as you’ve gotten your initial objective done, it shouldn’t be of much concern.

Learn to Stay Strong

Most people lack the courage and dedication to work. But what I’ve found is that if people find a certain likening to serve a cause, they’ll most likely neglect most small pleasures in pursuit of a far greater one.  The instructors chose to abandon the pleasure of spending time with their families and enjoying their status in pursuit of whatever may appeal to them. For most, it is the pursuit of the intellectual prosperity of those younger than them. For others, it may simply be because they want to develop their country.

What you can take from this is to take a goal of your own and focus on it. To expect yourself to be running on pure optimism and motivation all the time simply won’t happen, as we all go through struggles. So, rather than repeating the same cycle of blind optimism followed by high levels of anxiety over and over again, let’s minimize the cost of such inept actions.

No matter what their cause may be, it took them a lot of strength to get there. There is no denying that enduring constant sleepless nights can be very sickening, both physically and mentally. Most of us just quit, whine, sob, or find something to temporarily indulge ourselves in. But the reason I truly admire our instructors is that they underwent all this and are equipped with both the experience and intellect needed for us to walk the same path.

Learn Your Limitations

Everyone has their limitations. But how we choose to deal with the unknown is very different. For this, I’d like to believe that the instructors have much more to learn here than the students themselves. The reason for that is that students are still unfamiliar with what it means to take full responsibility for another person. Therefore, attempting to approach such topics is pointless for most students, as it will take the time to become sensible enough to carry such a load onto their shoulders.

Most of us are still living under our parent’s savings and are too self-centred to fully absorb the enigmatic experience of seeing someone grow. Not only that, but most students come from comfy privileged backgrounds. The instructors, however, are not under such constraints. Hence, they tend to see many flaws that most of us may fail to comprehend.

For example, a professor may notice the class feels bored. So, they improvise accordingly and adapt to the demands of the students. This is truly admirable, as they carry the strength to not only possess the accumulation of information but also express it in a manner that everyone can understand. Not only does this discard any apathy the student may have, but also give them an imaginative mind: capable of producing whatever they may desire.

A picture of students in a class as they pay attention to a professor as he teaches

Objections

Debates are healthy if consumed within an acceptable dosage range. But, given the fact that we know far less, we aren’t in much of a position to make many demands. Should one dislike a certain method of teaching, he could try by themselves with their peers and perhaps compare their results. Then, they must be obliged to take responsibility or drop it.

To clarify, this isn’t meant to discourage a certain method of teaching, rather encourage students to further enhance their ability to teach. Teaching at an early age can contribute to one’s ability to sympathize and understand others, as well as enhance their communication skills. It may also indirectly develop your leadership skills and appreciate any help you may receive.

There are many opportunities for teaching at the campus. You can volunteer to teach the SI-PASS sessions, laboratories, and manage events with instructors. You can also gain a bit of gain through finance and your CV.

Some students from an SI-PASS session where one student who passed the course highly leads and helps students taking the course to learn outside normal class hours.
SI-PASS sessions by my friend and senior, Abdullah Damash
Community Volunteer Society where students are able to meet and learn from each other.
Community Volunteer Society recording physics solutions

Bonding

To be frank, there will usually be a gap in this aspect between the students and the teachers. This is very hard to neglect, as the difference in the generational gap can cause quite a few misunderstandings. It may even negatively affect the academic orientation of a classroom. So what can we do to solve it?

Well, the best option is to just deal with it. People are different: different standards, experiences, decisions, troubles and anxieties, etc. And to expect people to change under your standards is an infantile self-centred attitude. Thus, one shouldn’t feel the need to change for the sake of familiarizing oneself with another, rather grow and strive to see the best version of themselves.

Besides, instead of looking at the smaller image, one should look at the bigger picture. You have curious students from all over the globe eager to study. Put this alongside the numerous hardworking professors, and there should be no problems. Besides, the instructors have devoted a lot to the campus. We can easily visualize this with the constant adjusting of their teaching methods during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as their bravery whilst putting out the fire and helping students be relocated to a safer place off campus as the firefighters did their job(just to name a few).

A picture of a forest that caught fire during the first few months of lockdown. Students were able to learn about the more compassionate side of the professors.
A picture of the forest fire that struck during the first 4 months of the pandemic.

Conclusion

To conclude, we- the students of METU NCC- should be appreciative and aware of the opportunities before they are gone. Very rarely do you see so much given to you with open arms. The only expectation to meet is to study smart and hard so that you can learn. Other than that, you are free to do as you wish. And we are lucky to have such hard-working instructors in our campus. With that said, I wish the best for all residents of METU NCC. If you’re interested in learning more about the campus and student life, check out some more of our articles on the metucyprus blog.

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  1. Pingback: MECHANICAL ENGINEERING AT METU NCC | MetuCyprus Blog

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