It was nearly 8 a.m. and, yawning, I sat down in my usual desk, a few seats from the front of the room. I counted the number of other students around me. There were maybe 12 of us who bothered to show up to class that day, but about 25 students on the roster.
I didn’t blame the other half of my class for choosing to sleep in. We had barely learned anything all semester anyway. My professor was nice, but his lectures did not stimulate us or encourage us to learn the material. And after my professor cancelled our final, I started to wonder why I bothered waking up at 7 a.m. to come to class either.
The class was easy; I could sit there and work on other assignments and we did not have much homework. Our two tests were take-home, open-notes exams. I had been taught some of the concepts my professor discussed in middle school.
But it was a waste of time, money and credits. I rather would have taken a class that actually taught me something. I could have been taking a course that would help me in my career and life goals. That is, after all, the point of college.
This is not the only class where I have felt this way. In my QU 101 class, my professor let us out after 20 minutes when the class discussion dwindled, so I felt guilty participating. I am sure other students have sat through similar courses.
We as students deserve classes that are challenging and intellectually stimulating. We deserve to be forced to rethink what we thought we knew. We deserve to be pushed out of our comfort zone.
We don’t deserve to sit in class bored and we don’t deserve to be babied. We don’t deserve classes that are purposely easy because the professors know this isn’t our major, that we are only taking the class to fulfill a requirement.
When students take classes that are designed to be easy, they cannot learn anything. What then, is the point of this requirement?
There can be a value in taking classes outside of one’s major. It is important for students to have a working knowledge of a variety of topics. This makes us well-rounded and allows us to better understand the world around us and communicate with different people.
Courses students are required to take should be designed with these goals in mind. Professors should attempt to explain how these classes relate to students’ lives or majors. These courses should focus on class discussion and activities that enable students to apply what they are learning.
This is more difficult for the professor, but not impossible. My nutrition professor, for example, did a great job of making our class both educational and enjoyable. Instead of being asked to memorize facts to spit out on a test, we kept food logs and participated in food pyramid role-playing games. I still remember some of the concepts we learned in nutrition class, but it is hard for me to recall even the most basic information from my science class.
I do not want required courses to be extremely difficult or as time-consuming as classes for my major. But I do want them to further my education and development.
We are at this school to learn, so our classes should teach us something important.