I have always been a diligent, hard working student. My GPA right now is 3.48. And I’ve worked very hard for those grades. But recently I have realized something about college, and about the people at my college particularly. Here are some examples, and then maybe you can see where I’m coming from:

Three guys, eating in the cafeteria, making their fantasy football picks.

“Dude, what did you do this weekend?”

“Not much, I wanted to go to XYZ fraternity, but couldn’t get in.”

“Yeah I know – at this school you have to prove yourself before you get the right to party.”

Oh gee… brilliant. And this is what you guys worry about? Another one?

In a 100 level philosophy glass. Freshman girl, tiny body – big hair. As the class discusses “The Plague” she sits laughing, out loud, at her phone. Then she raises her hand…

“Have you heard of FML?”

The teacher looks puzzled, trying to figure out what this has to do with the reading…
“You know, it’s a website where people write stuff that’s like… happened to them… and it means like… F my life… “

Teacher nods… still waiting for the connection…

“It’s really funny, like this one here…” AND THEN SHE READ THE WEBSITE TO US! And she did this three times. And when she wasn’t trying to read her stupid website to the class – she was giggling at the FML comments on her phone.

It was obvious that the teacher – who is a really decent guy, and a very good teacher – was struggling to keep his cool. This girl is constantly interrupting the class to announce how boring she finds it. That this class is stupid, she hates the readings (which I doubt she did any way), and that it is all a waste of her time.

And then, my last example. I observed a class today that was supposed to discuss a book that they have had over a month to read (a short novel).During the first 20 minutes of the class, only 4 people participated – out of 25.

The teacher got up, and left.

I have been guilty before of being unprepared for my classes. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand what it is like to be in a class you don’t like, or to have so much homework that you can’t do everything. I also know that is can be fun to hang out with friends on occasion.

But I am becoming overwhelm with the number of students around me that are not active participants in their education. Their parents, or scholarships, are paying for their education – and they are wasting it!

I hope that I raise children that are active participants in their own education. I know so many kids that are just expected to go to college, so they go, and while they may graduate with a piece of paper, the majority of their learning is done in that last year as they struggle to make up for slaking off in the beginning.  I hope to raise my children to have a love and passion for learning. But I also hope that if my child doesn’t think that college at 18 is the best thing for them, that I can support them in that. I have read many reports that show that people with work experience, and older students tend to have higher GPAs, and they feel more satisfied with their education, compared with the typical 18-22 year old college student.

I feel like seeing so many people slaking and hating their education seems to diminish the value of my education. Because these are my classmates. These are my discussion partners, my peer review partner. If they aren’t putting an effort into their own education – not only are they hurting themselves, but they are hurting me. The value of a degree is going down. Just like 15 years ago having computer skills put you above the other candidates, but now it is expected of every one. Now it seems like so many people are graduating with degrees that it’s not enough to set you apart from the crowd. Especially when it seems like the quality of education is decreasing. What really upsets me is that when all of these people graduate, and take these same attitudes, and these same habits into the work force these UT graduates will reflect on me, and all of the alumni before them.

I’m sorry to complain so much. It just hurts me to see so many people wasting the opportunity for an education.

Continue the fun!

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  1. What a great post! I was one of those slackers…originally. I left high school and started Virginia Tech because I was expected to go to college. My parents would foot the bills and I would go to school, plus all my friends were going to college and most of my friends were going to VT. I stayed one semester, made decent grades with very little effort and came back home after Christmas to be with my still in high school boyfriend. I enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University and did well my spring semester. Come fall of my sophomore year, I was single (of course) and rushed a sorority to make new friends. Once in my sorority all I cared about was going to that frat party and hanging out with my new friends. Again, mom and dad were footing all the bills. I was put on academic probation that semester. I went for spring and basically stopped going to class. Finally, the end of that semester we (my parents and I) decided I needed a break from school. I thought I didn't need a piece of paper, it was stupid and I didn't care.

    Fast forward 5 years and in adult life that piece of paper is like a golden ticket. While its true many people like to see a Masters or Graduates degree, without the Undergrad, you are nothing. I enrolled at University of Louisville at age 25 and I'm still 12-13 classes away from my degree, but I appreciate it more. I'm still not a passionate learner, but I understand why its important. I study and put in the work. My GPA currently is 3.98 and I love that. But I also try to realize in the real world, no one cares about my GPA and is not putting the extra effort means I get to spend more time with my husband or excel at my job that pays the bills, I choose those options over busting my butt to get that A.

    I hope when I have kids that are old enough we can afford to pay for their college like my parents did and are still doing, but there will be rules and standards to uphold. I also think a gap year between high school and college is a good idea, to help mature and make them understand the importance of getting their degree. Although in 20 years from now, who knows what will be standard and expected!

    *Sorry for the long comment, but you struck a chord with me 🙂

    1. You're totally right! I hadn't thought about the fact that it'll be 20 years before any of my kids go to college! lol. I wonder what will be important then? Maybe a Masters will seem like nothing?!

      I realize that this post seems very judgy. Eeek! I hope no one takes it personally, I just get very frustrated. I've never been a "smart" kid. I have always had to work and struggle to make good grades. In the class with the girl that like to read FML to the class – she was getting mad because the teacher said the curve wasn't going to be as good as some people thought it would be, because some students were upset. He also said that only 2 essays were getting dropped – instead of three. Every one was up in arms because they had chosen not to write three papers, instead of using those to drop bad grades – essentially meaning they got a zero on one.

      It bothered me so much because I have been really active in this class, I've gone to office hours, had the teacher review my papers with me before submitting them, and I put a lot of effort into them. So it's my fault the curve is bad. I have a 98% in the class. And I don't think that just because people choose to not do their homework, and just because they whine enough, that the curve should be good enough to make their grades equal to mine, when I actually did the work. I'm not passionate about every single class I take – but I also don't take things for granted.

      I didn't make that very clear to begin with – but I hope it makes sense. and WOW! A 3.98! That is super impressive! I hope I didn't rub you the wrong way. 🙁

  2. I clicked over here from That Wife … so hi!

    This is so incredible to me. None of that would ever fly at my school. I mean, no one ever gives 100% to every class and no one always comes prepared. But, there are for sure ways to participate regardless and at the very least be quiet and pay attention to what is happening in front of you. I am surprised the professor didn't ask the girl with the phone to leave.

    1. Yeah – I think it was all he could do to not respond rashly – and I understand where he's coming from. It's all I can do to not react rashly! I am sure it has to do with maturity. Which is why I think it is important to be old enough (mentally) to appreciate the education you're getting. 🙂

  3. Uggh, this is a huge pet peeve of mine. I was especially shocked at college because I thought "ok, everyone is here voluntarily, college is a choice, it's hard to get in to this school, I'll be surrounded by interesting, intellectual people who…" BAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, I just had to interrupt that thought to laugh out loud at what a fool I was. People were still flirting all during class, sitting in the back and talking and laughing, not participating at all, and worse, actually making fun of people who did- um, hello, it's a discussion group, we have to answer the questions or the prof will just sit there and wait! It's beyond annoying. People cheated like crazy, skipped class, took 12 hours and didn't work, and then bitched that their parents weren't sending them enough money to party with- meanwhile, I'm working MORE than full time between 3 jobs, taking 12 to 15 hours a semester, reading the required AND recommended books, maintaining above a 3.75 for my scholarship, and volunteering and being a local activist. Some people just don't care. And that's fine, if they are so spoiled they can't appreciate the blessing of an education. I just wish they would shut their traps so those of us who do care can enjoy class!

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