From the first day of classes, students get a grim view of their semester from the syllabuses presented to them. From homework, book reports and supplementary reading to multiple tests and quizzes, their classes are filled with excessive assessments.
This leads one to wonder where we are as students. Are we still in the high school system where students are constantly tested and evaluated to make sure they aren’t slacking in their studies? It sure seems like it. The amount of testing done on students, whether it be in CLASS or other colleges, seems to indicate insecurity about student’s work ethic if given space.
English majors, for example, are assigned 8 to 10 books a semester and are expected to finish each within a single week. And that is only the requirement for one class. Then, this book that they have spent hours upon hours reading and analyzing is only given a cursory analysis in class. An analysis often unworthy of the time and effort they put in reading the material.
The amount of work simply burns students out. They become tired and frustrated with their classes and their work load.
There is only so much time each student can spend in a library effectively studying before exhaustion starts to jeopardize efficiency. Furthermore, their readings become unenjoyable. They can rarely read with ease or simply for the big themes or ideas of textbooks and novels.
They read and highlight parts of a book with exceptional detail and simply forgo reading other less important sections.
Regular reading — be it a novel, non-fiction, or even a textbook — should not be read in such a cursory way. Unfortunately, students are at times not reading for understanding or comprehension but for testing. It’s effect on long-term comprehension of material, which is an important portion of college education, is detrimental, but they are simply too overworked to read their texts properly.
Also, excessive assessments limit and almost devour student’s social lives. The concept of social life needs to be expanded from the limits of sex and booze. There is much more to it than that. If students didn’t feel overtaxed by their studies, they might visit a Museum or recreationally read a book relating to their degree, or go to lectures on and off-campus given by intellectuals and professors.
However, they are so overtaxed with classes and needless assignments that by the time they finish their obligations, booze and sex is all that is on their minds.
University students voluntarily choose their path of study, and as such, mostly care about their studies and future. Therefore, they shouldn’t be treated like children who will deliberately slack off in their classes. Even if they do so, it’s only because they are overworked in their classes. It is surely because of these issues that students jump to websites like ratemyprofessors.com to find easier instructors.
It’s not that they don’t want to learn from the best, but they don’t want the burden of a class that will eat hours of their life away and usually reward their efforts with an average grade. This may be a reason, albeit a secondary one, why certain students are not graduating on time. Rather than take 15 or more hours a semester, they’d rather take 12 and maintain a semblance of normality and balance in their lives.
Babak Hamidi is an English junior and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.