A four-year college degree isn’t for everybody. I’d be reluctant to even say it’s for most people. However, everybody needs and deserves education. Our society just needs to do a better job recognizing the validity of the huge variety of types of education for different types of people, interests, and careers.
The further along students get in their education, and the closer they get to entering the workforce, the more the line between the two starts to blur. College athletes, for example, aren’t getting paid for their athleticism, other than the lucky ones offered scholarships. But in many cases, their hard work is still making truckloads of money for their universities.
Pre-college, summer school is hung over the heads of students like a threat for not working hard enough. That’s already an unfair stigma for grade school and high school students, but for college that stigma truly makes no sense. If you’re reluctant to sacrifice your three months of sunshine for a few spare credits, here’s a few reasons you might want to reconsider.
1. Summer classes are typically easier. Take this one with a grain of salt, because I have no doubt there are plenty of exceptions, but generally speaking, you won’t need to do as much work during a summer term.
For some, the final paper is even more dreaded than the final exam. At least with an exam, you can only do so much work in the time given. With a paper, there’s this sinister feeling that you always could have done more. So naturally, you put off thinking about it as long as you can.
I was reading the other day about the Kübler-Ross model, better known as the Five Stages of Grief. I thought I’d overlay the same ideas onto the process of writing a final paper. The comparison was uncanny.
When it’s time to graduate, while you’re sitting there sweating through your academic robes in the summer sun, you’ll start to listen to the names of your class (or department, depending on how your school does it), anticipating friends’ names so you can cheer a little louder.
The odds are pretty good that you won’t hear at least one name you expect to. Some people just plain don’t want to walk.
While the majority of you probably wouldn’t even consider skipping, a number of your classmates have no interest whatsoever in attending graduation. A few of them might even take off as soon as finals are complete. Justifications will vary. Some will say they’re just sick of school and can’t wait to get out of here. Some will be taking off out of obligation to their vacation plans (that they easily could’ve scheduled later in the first place). But whatever the argument, the people who don’t want to walk simply don’t see much value in pomp and circumstance.
There’s a problem at a lot of well-known, hyper-competitive schools. As it turns out, when you get thousands of very successful students who’ve made their way into a top-tier college by getting straight A’s, they don’t want to stop getting straight A’s just because they’re suddenly surrounded by kindred spirits. Suddenly, just about everyone‘s getting A’s for doing a comparatively average job and the grades start to mean very little.
The consequences are far reaching. The more grades get devalued, the more a college education gets devalued as well. If you ask Google whether or not you should include your GPA on your résumé, you’ll get wildly differing advice. That’s too bad, because it shows how little faith many employers have in what’s supposed to be a standardized marker of academic achievement.
Between Asteroid 2012 DA14 passing a mere 17,200 miles from the surface and the meteor impact in Chelyabinsk, Russia causing over 1,000 injuries, I think it’s time we start calling February 15th International Space Junk Day. Children can celebrate by throwing rocks at each other. Adults can coat ice cubes in 151, light them on fire, and drop them into a vodka & tonic. We can call the drink an “Atmospheric Entry,” or maybe a “Siberian Sky.”
Futurama Fry meme courtesy of quickmeme.com.
A professor at Northwestern’s management school recently published a study critiquing the cultural effects of encouraging independent work and independent values at colleges. The paper argues that middle- and upper-class students thrive in an environment that pushes independent values — like “express yourself” and “do your own thing.” Students that are the first in their family to attend college, however, thrive in environments that push interdependent values — like “work with others” and “do collaborative research.”
Writing textbooks has got to be pretty tedious work. So you can hardly blame the writers when they slip in something that seems a little bit… off. My theory is that one of three things happens:
#1. The writer slips something in to see if anybody notices.