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The speech by Gary Pavela clearly specifies the key elements to be addressed and emphasized straight from the start. The friendships we make as well as individual and collective academic excellence are highly important in the influence of the peer group we belong to. The speech emphasizes on a number of significant aspects that help foster friendship and general excellence, namely honesty and integrity, social trust, individual attitude, truth, fidelity, and loyalty.
As the speech opens up, the example of the ceiling of the very auditorium in which the students gather provides a significant illustration of how much livelihoods and safety depend upon social trust. Social trust may not necessarily imply friendship, but it strongly stands by its own if a person is to be regarded as reliable such as the contractor who built the auditorium. Reliability is an aspect we look out for in friends, family members, business associates, and people with whom we endeavor to form any deep relationship.
Academic integrity refers to the ability of an individual to be trusted to come up with honest results about an undertaking, be it an exam or a project. The key word is integrity which marries into academics for the good of the learner as well as the various tutors in the system. A student who possesses academic integrity is, therefore, one who can be trusted by both his colleagues and lecturers – it is social trust. Just like any information-based economy will decline with a decline in social trust, so is in the case with an academic institution since its basis is that of sharing of information among other things.
The importance of self-structure cannot be stressed enough because academic integrity fosters the self-structure bearing equal importance to the physical structures making up the environment. Competitiveness at everything, the notion that one is smarter than others, and considering friendships dispensable constitute traits that can be observed in a lot of people. These traits lead to bleakness and a sense of emptiness followed by loneliness since the person involved has a weak self and is unable to form any deep friendship or intimacy. Both fidelity to friendship and fidelity to truth itself get emphasis.
Fidelity is the aspect that drives truth and friendship, which have a vital role when developing the self. A friend gets the description of someone who is not only loyal to us, but also honest – the one who exercises fidelity. It is imperative for a friend and anyone we get into any relationship with to possess these attributes because we sub-consciously adopt their mannerisms and behavior. Similarly, they adopt ours and hence the need for us to practice true friendship and honesty.
The journey towards a strong self-structure is a self-oriented one towards truth and fidelity to the truth. Being friendship-oriented toward truth forms the basis for an honor code. Such will demand genuine friendship at the core, one that consistently offers support, and whereby the student can tell the lecturer about their fears and doubts concerning the academic world. A properly designed and administered honor code will reflect a partnership between members of the faculty and students. An environment of trust and cooperation is more likely to evolve being beneficial to the students and society at large as new ideas come up and insights are gained.
When picking my friends, traits such as honesty, loyalty, self-motivation and self-discipline take the front line. People who possess these features make genuine friends as well as ones who can correct me when I am wrong, inspire trust and push me to excel academically. I often borrow various traits from them such as perseverance and forgiveness, traits that not only foster the friendship but also gain us praise from the parents.
Friendships are mutual relationships where each one benefits from the other. As I pick up various traits from my friends, I try to be the best I can to them by offering moral support when they have problems. These could be problems such as poor academic performance, fallout with some friends - quite a common occurrence, genuine confrontation when I feel they are tripping into the wrong company or activities and such other incidences. I also help them with assignments that can be done in teams and encourage them to participate in various outdoor activities.
Substituting the word “pleasure” for “happiness” in The Declaration of Independence would be a mistake. The reason is that one word constitutes the other hence it is a more comprehensive experience. Pleasure simply means delight and enjoyment while happiness refers to a state of pleasure and good fortune that leads to contentment. Thus, “the pursuit of happiness” gives a more comprehensive reference to what each member of the society aims at as opposed to what “the pursuit of pleasure” would imply.