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Learning to Think

“You say: I am not free. But I have raised and lowered my arm. Everyone understands that this illogical answer is an irrefutable proof of freedom.” — Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

The question of free will is a difficult one. Are the circumstances we are in and the experiences we live a result of our own choosing? Do we have true freedom if the number of available alternatives during an action-of-choosing is finite? Are we moving  freely when we can only move about in a certain way?

 The question of free will is a difficult one. Everyone agrees. But, do we need to dwell on the question, especially since we know that we cannot truly answer it? After all, there are ‘real’ problems in the world for everyone to think about! This essay is not about free will. What this essay is a brief reflection of an academic experience as a freshman at Dartmouth College, NH, USA. Maybe I, along with the reader, can come to a realization of the inspiration behind my understanding of the need to dwell on questions like that of free will. At Dartmouth, every freshman has to go through a writing class (either Writing 2-3 or Writing 5), and a writing seminar. I got placed into Writing 2-3 International—taught by Professor Karen Gocsik—a special Writing 2-3 class composed entirely of 16 International Students from all over the world. Our Writing 2-3 International Class would be her 25th and last time teaching the class. Anyways, it all began with a