Thursday, March 10, 2005

The honor system

For all the bitching I do about my school, it's actually pretty cool in a lot of ways. One of the ways in which it's cool is that it's, in general, very trusting of its students.

Take exams for example. A lot of schools have exam software you have to install on your computer so that when you're taking exams you're quarantined from things you're not supposed to access (e.g., the internet and instant messenger). My school doesn't. You generally aren't supposed to access the internet during exams, and you're not supposed to talk to people, but they technically have no way of checking up on you (unless they asked the proctors to walk up and down the aisles looking at people's computer screens, which they don't). And I think most, if not all, students, are actually good about following these rules.

Or the law school's cafeteria. The food isn't so great, but it's the kind of place where you can walk in and if you don't have enough money for your coffee/etc., promise to come back with it later. That's nice to have when you need to grab a quick snack between classes.

I don't think it's just the law school, either. The other day I was studying with some friends in a coffeehouse patronized primarily by undergrad students. A girl came up to our table and asked if we would watch her things while she went to get some food. We agreed, and one of my friends mused: "Do we look trustworthy?"

Maybe it's just the midwestern atmosphere. Or maybe it's something about school -- either the idea that we're all students creates a kind of camaraderie, or enough people have rich parents to replace their stolen things that vigilance isn't as crucial. But whatever it is, I kinda like it.

Maybe the world isn't such a nasty place, after all.


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