Student contemplates dropping first class
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
I might drop a class this semester, and the thought of it scares me to death.
I’ve never only taken 12 hours in a semester, especially since I’m still only a junior. I have always thought this was normal practice for seniors who have successfully met all of their academic requirements and take an easy final semester.
For the past four semesters, I have been registered in an average of 17 hours of class. In the fall: I’m stressed. In the spring: I’m stressed. There’s no time to really sit down and comprehend the information that’s being thrown at us by professors every day. Where’s the time to think?
One of my professors enlightened me and said that the average student at SMU takes over 15 hours of class each semester. When she was an undergraduate, this number was limited to 12.
She said it gave students time to research, spend time with reading material and really comprehend what was being said in the classroom. So why are we so pressured to take one, two and sometimes three more classes than what used to be the normal four?
It’s the competition. We’re in constant competition with ourselves, our peers at the university and our peers across the nation.
SMU is gaining prestige at the national level as a high-quality, academic institution. Our students are known as leaders in their fields who have completed course work that makes them competitive in an international job market. I’m a junior and already have a job offer at a multi-national nonprofit. Many of my friends have been recruited and signed contracts with major consulting firms. We are fierce, but sometimes I question if all of the stress and time spent in 18 hours of class per week is worth it.
How often do you finish all of your reading for a class? How often does one of your professors lessen the amount of reading due for the semester because no one has the time to finish it?
Granted we could all hide out in the library all year and complete our work, but that’s not what the university experience is about.
The university experience includes your time with friends, extra-curricular activities and personal time to meditate on what you’re learning.
Of course we’re here to learn and receive a fabulous education, but without those other three things we become hermits and people unable to function in society. Dare I say it: daily reading and tests aren’t the only things upon which we should focus.
We need time to think; we need time to socialize. Most importantly, we need time to complete our work and do it well.
I came into the university with several credit hours that allowed me to take a little break and still receive two majors and a minor. I used to feel shameful for not taking 18 hours every semester, but not anymore.
I look forward to lightening my load, really investing my time into learning what’s being taught in the classroom and still balancing life out of the desk to be a well-rounded and productive university citizen.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Graves is a junior majoring in communications and religious studies. He can be reached for comment at email@example.com.