What’s so bad about being a know-it-all?

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by Jayden Jones, Opinion Editor

One of the most iconic and frequently quoted scenes of the Harry Potter series takes place in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Hermione Granger, unable to resist herself, answers a question in Severus Snape’s class without being called upon. Unforgivingly and in classic Snape fashion, the professor rebukes her for “being an insufferable know-it-all.” His statement has immediate effect, and Hermione immediately puts her head down and falls silent, the picture of shame. 

This scene perfectly depicts one reason that students can be unwilling to participate in class. Yes, raising your hand can be challenging for all sorts of reasons: risking shame, failure, public humiliation, etc. But it’s hardly ever acknowledged that often we hold our tongues because, like Hermione, we’re afraid of being labeled as a know-it-all. This fear is common especially in women. 

All too often, we label ourselves as under-qualified or because we are afraid of coming on too strong. Rather than risk being perceived as a know-it-all, we stay silent at the back of the class because it is safer. Although we admire our peers and celebrate their knowledge and expertise, we so rarely afford ourselves the same praise. We are sure that if we were to allow others to see what we truly know, we would be perceived as pretentious or self-righteous. 

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This week, let’s try and be brave. This is our education, after all. And we are paying for it. One credit hour costs $536. Every time we walk into class, tired and caught up in the bustle of our routines, let’s remember that we’re here by choice. We are choosing to invest in ourselves and our education, and we are worthy of every minute of it.

Categories: Opinion, The Saint