College students are burnt out

David Delgado | The Daily Cougar

David Delgado | The Daily Cougar

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 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 [email protected].


  • Not mention Mastering, Pearson, Second Life and surveys that are designed to increase our chances of becoming more successful students.
    There will be failures and people that succeed no matter where you go and giving more course work will only play the burden on those who are successful.

    Spend your grant money on something more productive please. I can learn just fine with my book, pencil, and paper and a professor that’s willing to teach well.

  • Really? Get over yourself. University is not an apprenticeship program. It is meant to be rigorous. If you can’t complete the reading, you obviously need to better understand the concept of reading with a purpose. Don’t think things slow down when you get a career, they’re likely to speed up.

    If you feel an assignment is needless, then discuss its value with the professor. If you think you are capable of understanding material without being tested, then why complain when you are asked to read a book and then little time for in-class discussion is given (think about how those two are opposing arguments that you made). If social life is more than sex and booze for you, why is that your default example? Why are you not complaining that the only time you have is for the museum and reading for pleasure – and time for sex and booze is something that you need more time for? You negated your argument for wanting less work (like required reading in class) by saying you would like more time to read your own material that relates to your major. is your prof not the best person to show you what is fundamental reading?

    I understand this publication is not the new York times (their opinion columns are sometimes crazy as well) but you really should think about your opinion and arguments before you write.

  • You know, I was a student over 10 years ago. One of my professors at the time, who has since passed away, used to relate this story to students who complained about the volume of coursework they were expected to do (primarily readings as described in the article). The professor pointed out that he had not substantively changed the syllabus in the 30 years he’d taught the course; the works themselves may change, but the volume remained the same. He was asked in the early 2000’s if perhaps his courseload wasn’t a bit . . . mature . . . for a freshman level class. His response was that when he arrived in the 1970’s, he was approached by his department chair and told that his syllabus and courseload were a little light given that university is supposed to be a rigorous intellectual exercise.

    Times, my, how they have changed.

  • As an international student, I’m completely aware that professors are not uniform. If I encounter a weak instructor (bias), it’s his/her problem. Every now and then, I face similar issue from my own kind. So, what’s the difference?
    I understand your argument, but I don’t encourage, negotiate, or advocate that kind of idea. Us as students have to understand that we are subjected to being taught by professionals once we signup in academia. A professor who unrealistically assigns homework to students is probably frustrated and takes his/her frustration out in others, but this is very odd. Who knows? I have had hardcore professors. When I took professors who were lax, I lost my motivation. That blows my mind. When it comes to evaluating my professor(s), I carefully think between personality and quality. It’s hard to be fair to people, especially if I get offended or insulted by that instructor. I don’t dwell on things whether my instructor was fair to me. When I evaluate a professor, I have been always fair. Surely, I’m not afraid to disclose my name if requires. I peacefully sleep at night without resentful unless I say stupid thing. That bogs me down.
    Admittedly, I’m kind of burnt out not just because of my education, but the challenges in life I face every day affect my performance. I encountered bad things that were good excuse if I failed, but those problems didn’t stop me from getting ready in the morning for school or work.
    According to the result of my English assessment, my comprehension or fluency level was low. I needed to improve more, so I wouldn’t struggle in college. I spent three years of my life in English as a Second Language (ESL) course, which was completed in 2012. I patted my back that I’m done. Despite an amount of time I invested in my prerequisites, I still struggle due to the fact that English class, which includes US history, biology, sociology, anthropology, or psychology, requires study time. I had psychology, sociology, US history and Constitution, biology, and psychology at the same time. These courses alone needed time for reading, analyzing, and researching. I managed to get through with decent grades. The language in these courses was distressing me. Dictionary or thesaurus has been my best friend more than ever. That eats up my time. I never employ any translator devices to learn English language even though I could. Right now, I have a pile of assignments from my previous courses. I couldn’t believe that I already wrote much of pages. Those papers were graded by my instructors/professors. I earned bad, good, and excellent grades. If I don’t procrastinate or do my job right, I get an excellent grade. If I devote less effort in my paper, I earn less. That’s a reward for mediocrity. I know what it takes to get an A, B, C, or F.
    Am I depriving myself from social life? I wouldn’t call it deprivation. In my world, fun is a treat, not a chore or a priority. I let the nature hits me. I find happiness whether I’m alone or not. I don’t crave party just because I want to take a day off from a pile of assignments. My friends will not be financially responsible for my necessity such as bills and retirement. A good friend can wait. A fun friend wants me for fun. This type of person I would call if I could not stand being alone at places where I need a company.
    Never in my whole life to engage in any of this activity even during the time I just lost my mother at early age. Intoxicated by narcotics and/or engage in random sexual activity are not my options to recuperate from stress, sadness, or depression. I have been doing my best to keeping my head in good shape. Also, I was born in a dysfunctional family and that’s not something I want to follow. The study revealed that the cycle of abuse is not just insidious, but also a culture, which is hard to stop. That’s not what I want for my children.
    I understand how some people engage in something that could threaten their lives, but I don’t give a rut. I can only control myself. Some of us would not survive due to the fact that we are all having a different temperament.

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