A Fresh View: The Importance of “I don’t know”

Don't know

Hello, Brown enthusiasts! My name is Leah Goldman, and I’ll be your socially-awkward blogger for A Fresh View for the coming year. Join me as I attempt to make my way through this slightly terrifying yet extremely exciting experience known as The First Year of College.

I think we all know that Brown has a reputation for intelligence. Like with all the Ivy League schools, as well as many other universities, it is known for attracting a lot of incredibly bright and passionate people. For me, this was really intimidating. Despite the fact that I too had gotten in here, I couldn’t help but feel that everyone else would be so much more impressive, particularly when it came to being informed about the world.

In my first semester here, I definitely did meet a lot of people who were more well-informed than I was, and it definitely was a little intimidating. It can be tough to admit that you just don’t know something, especially when it seems like everyone else does. Personally, it always makes me worry that the other person will think I’m stupid. However, I think that saying “I don’t know” is one of the best things you can do in college.

The typical student at a school like Brown is known for being passionate and full of knowledge. What many don’t consider is that this passion makes for really interesting teachers. By admitting that you don’t know something, you’re inviting the other person to share their knowledge, which they are generally willing and happy to do in a passionate way. As someone who was (and still is, somewhat) woefully uninformed politically, I have found this to be a great way to learn more about the different parties and the upcoming elections.

It can be a lot easier and less awkward to just pretend to know more than you do. However, I think that it’s so much more beneficial to admit your lack of understanding and open the door to learning. While it may feel like the other person will judge you for it, I think it’s more likely that they will be impressed by your willingness to be upfront and say “I don’t know.”

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, suggestions, etc. feel free to comment below or email me at leah_goldman@brown.edu!

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