Monday, March 6, 2006

Copy Cat Wildcats

Tonight I witnessed a girl present an idea that was mine, which I had brought up to her in confidence and later to a group, as her own. I was thoroughly disgusted. I thought that people stopped doing that in like seventh grade, but apparently not. It's sad that at a school like Northwestern you have to jealously guard your ideas, or if you don't, you won't get credited with them.

In one of my journalism classes here, our professor asks us every week we get an assignment if we have any ideas for a story lead. The professor, Alex Kotlowitz, is quite simply an amazing teacher and mentor (not to mention regular contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, PBS and NPR). Usually, when he asks this question, everyone casts rodent-like subvertive glances at one another and keeps mouths sealed. It drives me crazy--if we have the opportunity to LEARN!!! from one another and GAIN!!! from experience, WHY NOT?! Can't we respect our ideas so far as not to steal them from one another, and instead share...and if BY SHARING, GROW?!!!

So the last time he asked this question, I waited, waited, and finally said, "Yeah, I have an idea." It was the most releasing feeling, sharing that idea and knowing that it had spurred a class discussion and that, really, nobody in that class was going to run with it as their own or duplicate it. Instead, we all produced individual, unique works.

But really, in the real world, maybe it doesn't work that way. And from now on, I'll keep my mouth shut. I guess it's back to the Northwestern way--competition.

oh, and... someone stole my license plates... who does that?!!

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