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OPINIONS QUICK

THE DAILY ILLINI

ED I TO RIAL

C O M MEN TA RY

Addition of another state school to Big Ten Conference infeasible

Quick Commentary delivers bits of relevant and important issues on campus or elsewhere. We write it, rate it and stamp it. When something happens that we are not pleased with: DI Denied. When something happens that we like: Alma Approved.

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tudents in the state of Illinois don’t have enough options. Because of limited resources at the University, many of the state’s best students must go to Big Ten institutions out of state to get a quality public education: the University of Iowa, Purdue University, the Ohio State University, etc. To combat this problem, state senators Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, and Michael Connelly, RNaperville, have asked the state legislature to look into the feasibility of upgrading the status of one of the current state schools to a Big Ten institution. Although the Big Ten has an interest in expansion, which is an admirable goal, none of the current state schools are anywhere near the quality of a Big Ten university — athletically or academically. Historically, Big Ten institutions are members of the Association of American Universities, an association of 62 of the top research universities in the United States and Canada. And, according to U.S. News and World Report, all Big Ten public universities rank in the top 50 public universities in the nation. Northwestern University, a private institution, is ranked 12th in the overall national rankings. Of Illinois’ other public schools, the University of Illinois at Chicago ranks highest: No. 128 in the national rankings — indicating it is not as academically qualified. In the past three years, the Big Ten has expanded from 11 schools to 14, adding the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Maryland and Rutgers University, all of which were AAU members at the time they were added. The most recent additions to the Big Ten have also been partly selected because of their proximity to large media markets — Maryland to Washington D.C. and Rutgers to New York City — and the potential revenue the conference could make by establishing the Big Ten Network in those markets. Although UIC and Northern Illinois University are in the Chicago market, neither school has a following that could rival any of the current Big Ten institutions, and both would have to establish themselves in the country’s third largest media market. Southern Illinois University could possibly get into the St. Louis market. None of the other Illinois schools are in a top media market. The Big Ten also plays football at the highest level and is one of, if not the best, basketball conferences in the country. The only other public Illinois school with a major football program is NIU; however, its basketball program is among the worst in the state. No other university’s basketball team could compete with Big Ten programs. Murphy and Connelly have good intentions, and if another public Illinois university met the academic and athletic standards that the Big Ten prides itself on, then the addition would likely be feasible and possibly even beneficial. But, with the athletic and academic limitations of other public in-state institutions, adding another to the Big Ten is not a worthy endeavor.

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In light of all of our coffee talk this week — literally — it seems only appropriate to mention the Starbucks customer in Louisiana who, instead of receiving fun coffee foam hearts or leaves in her drink, received Satanic symbols of a pentagon and the numbers “666� drizzled on top of her beverages. Starbucks took the complaint seriously and made sure to extend an apology to the customer. However, we will probably be taking advantage of the free small McCafes at McDonald’s for the next couple weeks instead of risking scary designs in our coffees.

With only a couple more days until the weekend hits, the campus is buzzing with preparation for Moms Weekend. For the next few days, we students will perform various tactics in the hopes of fooling our moms into thinking that we aren’t messy, unkept college students. We will put valiant efforts into spraying Febreze on our clothes to make it seem like we actually do laundry, and scrubbing our counters and floors so our apartments, houses and dorms don’t look so much like a left-over party. Or some of us might just leave the messes for mommy to clean up.

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In what can only be described as an epic tribute to one of the best television series of the 1990s, Samuel L. Jackson performed a three and a half minute slam poem plot synopsis of Boy Meets World on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday night. The show has garnered media buzz lately because its sequel, Girl Meets World, is expected to premiere on Disney Channel as early as this summer. Undoubtably, the show will disappoint, but Samuel L. sure didn’t.

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Netflix, the Holy Grail of affordable entertainment for college students and penny pinchers alike, has released a multitude of new April titles — ones we’re not sure how we ever lived without. Among the new releases are The Muppets Take Manhattan, the Rocky series, House, M.D. and others. Best of all, though, the site added the 2004 hit, Mean Girls. Grool.

High school teachers more influential than you think STEPHANIE YOUSSEF Opinions columnist

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hether you hated it or loved it, high school, and specifically high school teachers, played a crucial role in getting you where you are today. Just over spring break, when I was visiting my old high school, I started really thinking about how much the wonderful teachers I had there helped shape me into who I am. One memorable teacher, who had the greatest positive influence in my life, was my literature teacher, Mr. Jones. It was inspiring to see how hard he worked to challenge us to think about things differently, and we could see his passion for writing and teaching in every interaction we had with him. He taught me new, interesting ways to analyze literature and approach academic topics in general, ultimately helping me become a better writer and student. The power of teachers may not seem obvious at first, but I think high school teachers help play a larger role in shaping most of us

than we may realize. For example, our interests in college are often strongly determined by experiences we’ve built upon from high school — especially when it comes to majors and extracurricular activities. In high school, where classroom settings are typically smaller, this influence is more direct than in university settings. College professors put a greater emphasis on delivering academic information, which is perfectly fine — that’s what they are supposed to do. And we rate them by how successfully they do it. However, in high school, teachers have a greater responsibility for the kind of learning environment they create in their classrooms — they have more freedom than college professors to make them their own. Additionally, regardless of what your interests are, they were probably sparked by a teacher you had in high school — whether it was the subject they taught or their class in general. Maybe, a given teacher even helped you choose your current major or an extracurricular that you enjoy. If so, that teacher likely had a very strong impact on your college career. I mean, without Mr. Jones,

I wouldn’t have developed the love for writing and analysis that I have today, and I wouldn’t have started writing for The Daily Illini as an opinions columnist. Even teachers that maybe weren’t as charismatic or likeable influenced us by helping us uncover the academic subjects we didn’t like or chose not to pursue in higher education. Think about it. A few years ago, the time you didn’t spend at home was mostly spent in school, where your teachers functioned as role models and secondary parents. They probably pushed you academically to strive for success, graduate and attend an accredited university. They pushed you to realize your greatest potential. Not only did you learn academic material from them, but you also likely developed some of your personal interests through them. Beyond influencing your favorite subjects and extracurricular pursuits, much of what you get from your high school teachers that sticks with you long-term isn’t included in the class syllabus. A school is just as much about shaping social behaviors as it is about academic learning. Outside

the home setting, teachers are additional positive influences who can help promote good behavior. In high school, teachers are especially essential in that they help guide you through a pivotal stage in your development: right as you are becoming an adult and learning responsibility and self-motivation. Look at where you are today. You worked hard to achieve the success that you have, but you also had help from teachers in high school. Take the time to reflect on some of your wonderful high school experiences. Think about how much you changed from your freshman year to your senior year and about what teachers helped influence you in your high school career. Maybe even shoot them an email letting them know what you are up to and how they helped you become who you are today. You may find that, as their student, you had an influence in their lives as well. Thank you Mr. Jones!

Stephanie is a sophomore in LAS. She can be reached at syousse2@ dailyillini.com. Follow her on Twitter @syoussef22.

Friendly competition in U.S. does not exist JAD LACY Opinions columnist

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othing wrong with a little friendly competition — right? Perhaps, but when is competition ever truly friendly in the United States? To me, such a term as “friendly competition� seems no less of an oxymoron then plastic silverware, virtual reality or passive aggression. Judging from my own life experiences, I’m not sure such a contradictory concept — friendly competition — can exist. Dating back to my own childhood, it is difficult to recall a time when competition didn’t play a huge role in my life. Whether in the classroom or on the little league baseball diamond, I was taught at a young age that winning is important and, above all else, results matter. As a consequence, I learned early on to value grades over learning, batting averages above having fun and results before experiences. At the time, I didn’t think twice about these teachings, but, looking back now, I am not so sure that I agree with the emphasis on results. What about the importance of experiences gained along the way, friendships made, lives influenced or lessons learned? Do these things simply not matter as much as end results?

Despite my feelings that outcomes are often over emphasized, I’m not going to try and say they aren’t important. Results can motivate hard work and also function as measuring sticks to verify and prove our past accomplishments, but all too often, competition can serve as a double-edged sword. But issues occur when we get tunnel vision and allow winning to become all that matters to us. In many cultures, this cutthroat mentality is probably looked at as an overindulgent fixation with being the best, but in the United States, we simply call it friendly competition. Competing against others, even in a friendly way, doesn’t always fuel us to be better or work harder, instead it just makes us cold and callous towards adversaries, as well as less compassionate. With competition all around us from academics to games and sports meant for fun, it can be difficult to guard ourselves from becoming preoccupied with our obsession to compete. Many of us might even be unaware of our competitive nature. For instance, you might ask yourself, is winning a matter of character validation to prove your worth or importance to others? If you aren’t especially good at an activity, do you make great efforts to avoid that endeavor at all costs? Do you commonly find yourself surveying others in class about the

grade they got just to see if you got a higher score? If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, consider yourself a potential prisoner to your own lust for competition. When thinking about when it’s OK to compete against others, such as in professional sports and legitimate competitions, and when it’s not, one important thing to always consider is the context of the stakes you are competing for — a fierce attitude is not acceptable during a game of checkers or when playing Call of Duty. Certain activities, no matter how much you love the feeling of winning, do not warrant extreme competition. The reason for this is simple: Not all activities have to derive their meaning from whether you were victorious or not. Some things can be done solely for the sake of having a good time or enjoying yourself with others — even if you do lose or don’t do as well as others. Another element of friendly competition that is important to ensure you’re not becoming a “win-at-allcost� blowhard is to remember the context of whom you’re competing with. A common instance where this context is often breached is when individuals are found creating rivalries between friends and family. For me, this has always been a bizarre concept to conceptualize. First of all, why would some-

one desire to create an opposition between themselves and a loved one over something petty? Secondly, how can someone not be happy for the success of another that they both love and respect? Additionally, we do the same thing in the classroom setting by creating rivalries that need not exist. What we often forget about education is that it’s not meant for us to compete against others — it’s meant to work towards acquiring new information. Accumulating knowledge and tailing together a respectable grade point average is unaffected by the success or failures of others. Regardless, friendly competition prevails in the United States school systems and many other realms of life. To combat our culture’s overwhelming obsession with always being the best and winning at all costs, my suggestion is to put less emphasis on competition and more on collaboration. While the basic premise for competition is one person winning and another one losing, collaboration is built around the idea of two people winning, so that no one has to lose. To benefit ourselves and those around us, we should put more focus on working together and making it less about beating others.

Jed is a junior in Media. He can be reached at jedlacy2@ dailyillini.com.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS | opinions@dailyillini.com with the subject “Letter to the Editor.� The Daily Illini reserves the right to edit for length, libel, grammar and spelling errors, and Daily Illini style or to reject any contributions. Letters must be limited to 300 words. Contributions must be typed and include the author’s name, address and phone number. University students must include their year in school and college.

The Daily Illini: Volume 143 Issue 99  

Thursday April 3, 2014

The Daily Illini: Volume 143 Issue 99  

Thursday April 3, 2014

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