It was 9:05 a.m. and I was in my seat ready to start my final semester as a senior at the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University. I had my laptop out and was eager to learn what awaited me in Leadership Ethics.
My teacher strode in, leaned back on one of the tables near the podium and stated, “Okay class, we’ll be using Packback this semester, so make sure to make an account by next week.” A quiet groan echoed through the classroom. ‘Another assignment we have to keep track of’, I thought, but I went ahead and got my account set up. No matter the program, every new assignment is met with skepticism, and Packback was no different. However, after having experienced it myself, I found myself whistling a different tune.
I didn’t know what to expect when I first used Packback and I didn’t know what was the “right” or “wrong” question to ask. But I took that first step and asked my classmates, “If you were a parent, where are the lines you would draw when it comes to your kid going down a path you don’t approve?” Most of my peers said they didn’t know how they would morally guide their children, however, one response looked at many different points of view and explained what he/she would do in each situation.
This student responded with so much passion it felt like we were sitting next to each other in class sharing our beliefs.
Later on in the term, I explored a personal situation where a teacher of mine didn’t allow funerals to be an excused absence. Like a firecracker being lit, more classmates than I knew shared their thoughts. People were very passionate about the topic and I took delight in reading the responses, which seemed to unanimously agree that what my teacher did was wrong. I expected people to give half-baked responses and reply with a “yes” or “no” like my past experiences with class discussion, but instead, my classmates thoughtfully voiced their ideas, which made me realize that they were having just as much fun as I was! To give some insight, I’m a novice writer and my dream is to publish a novel, so asking questions has been part of my daily routine for years when storyboarding and writing. To ask questions is to peek inside other people’s minds and to challenge myself to think differently. What one person might believe is common sense may not be the same for someone on the other side of the world, and what someone thinks is the only answer might be proven wrong.
Thanks to Packback, I found a safe place to observe my classmates in a creative habitat and take in new perspectives, which I can’t thank it enough for.
We ask questions every day, and sometimes they can appear biased, manipulative or hurtful. Through my Packback experience, I learned there are no wrong questions. If we respect each other and open our minds to new ideas, I believe we can have fun sharing opinions and learning new things! While I have waved goodbye to my Leadership Ethics class, I am thankful my teacher gave us the opportunity to use Packback. It was a friendly and welcoming platform where people from all different backgrounds could pose questions and respond kindly. The world is open and inviting. Why not pose a question? You may find a new perspective, gain a friend or spark a debate to understand more than you imagined.
Written by Emily Gauthier