Friday, March 2, 2007

Not Everyone. Not Me.

I count myself lucky that I came across this blog when I did. As a new college student, I've found a lot of the posts about what frustrates professors and what they are looking for in their students to be tremendously helpful. Rather ironically, these past few days have been spent reading the posts here instead of actually working to make myself a better student. But I do try.

My schedule was constructed purely based om my interests and credit requirements; I paid no attention to times and days except to make sure none of them conflicted. As a result, I have a class every weekday at nine or nine-thirty, which is considered early by the majority of college students. I have never missed a class. I haven't even dragged myself in looking like a depressive, half mauled rag doll either. I know missing a class means missing important information, so I don't miss them. I do care about my classes, and the subject matter. I do my work carefully and hand everything in typed and on time, with my name legible on the top. If there's an in-class writing and I don't remember the reading as well as I should, I apologize accordingly and try my best to form an intelligent answer or thought based on what I do know.

But sometimes caring and working hard doesn't cut it. The fact is, college students have a lot of things to deal with, and no, it's not a matter of signing up for too many courses or taking on a late night job that eats up hours better spent studying. It's not as if we have one class and twenty four hours a day to devote to it. We're dealing with the new rooms, sharing space with someone with twice as many suitcases, plastering layer upon layer of duct tape on a poster to make it stick to the wall, tinkering with quarter-eating washing machines, showering in less than ideal privacy conditions, negotiating a largely confusing labyrinth of a campus, an ID card that won't open doors, dozens of required books to buy and no functioning bank account, and the barely edible dining hall food.

We're dealing with emails and phone calls from younger friends back home wondering why we haven't called them, parents calling with the same question, the sleazy boy in class who keeps trying to hold hands, the RA with a disturbing talent for picking up key words and deliberately misinterpreting them, the hordes of people knocking on our doors looking for the roommate (who has somehow made friends with everyone on campus) and the loud screaming of giddy parents-and-rules-free drunken revelers coming from outside (and below and above and to both sides).

We're dealing with our lives which have suddenly flipped over and inside out and are screaming for attention and maintenance. We can't neglect them. We have our own problems outside the classroom and not all of them turn out squeaky clean and dandy either.

So forgive us if we slip and fall a little every now and then. We are working for many professors every day, with different requirements, expectations, and policies. We have hours of reading and writing every night.

I understand that there are a lot of students who do not take college seriously, who miss classes and assignments as regularly as they lie about why, and care nothing about their work or their professors. But don't lump us all together. Some of us do care, and we do try, and being treated exactly like every other slacker or jock to take the class just doesn't help. Hopefully after teaching long enough, most of you are able to tell the difference.