Students’ attitudes towards classes at Concordia devalue education

There are some things that bother me more than most when it comes to college. I am bothered especially by how students treat something as simple as going to class. I am convinced that there are some students who just do not know how to go about putting the work necessary for a post-secondary education. Detailed below are a few things that astound me when it comes to how students treat college.

First of all, the mentality of getting by in your classes by putting in the least amount of work possible is completely counterproductive. Some students take this to the extreme and do not do any of the assigned readings before class at all. The entire reason students are here is to learn, not scrape by and pass your classes. I understand that a degree is more of a ticket that says that an individual is teachable rather than actually preparing them for a job field. However, students should try to learn something while they are in class and probably put more effort into preparing for class ahead of time.

Secondly, not paying attention in class is also a huge issue. The professor is taking time out of their day to teach the material in lecture format for the students. It is immensely insulting to the professor if students do not pay attention to the lecture. If students are going to surf Facebook instead of soak in the material being presented to them, they might as well not even be there.

When a student pays their tuition bill at the beginning of the semester they are essentially paying for all the class hours they will be attending during the semester. If a student decides to skip class for whatever reason, they are blatantly wasting money by paying up front for class time they just decided to not attend. If the university is as expensive as Concordia, they are wasting exponentially more dollars per hour if one were to divide up the tuition bill between the number of hours one spends in class. No wonder parents get so upset at their kids for skipping class, especially if the parent is the one paying for the tuition.

The same mentality can be said for when professors cancel class without assigning extra work to be done outside of class. One’s tuition dollars are being wasted in this instance as well. I don’t mean to harp on the professors, but on the students for not being more concerned that they are not getting their money’s worth. Idealistically, the reaction shouldn’t be a “Yes! I don’t have class,” but a “But I paid for this.”

I do not think that professors as a whole hold students accountable when the above behavior is exhibited. What I have seen happen is that the student ends up passing the class, and then moves on to the next class not fully prepared for it. At larger institutions like NDSU, professors would not think twice about failing the students who do not perform at the standards set before them in the syllabus, i.e. attending class, participating, etc. Concordia as a whole coddles its students way too much. More professors should be okay with giving out a C or even a D to the students who consistently exhibit this kind of behavior when their syllabi allows it (say, if 30 % of the student’s grade is based on in-class participation, then this would warrant an F in that category, affecting their overall grade in the class). If anything, this would give the student a wake up call; one that would make them realize that higher education requires more work than they are currently putting in.

Now, I bet some of you are wondering how in the world this is related to politics or religion, since that is the title of my column. Here is how it relates: if college was free, as many democratic socialists argue for, there would be many more of these kinds of students flooding America’s undergraduate institutions. More unqualified and under-dedicated students would see college as something to pursue out of obligation rather than out of a desire to further one’s education into a specified field of study. This would in turn devalue a college education, which would not be good for our economy.

Lastly, I want to clarify some things. Yes, I have been guilty of these infractions on occasion. Yes, other much more dedicated students than I have also been guilty of them as well. I am not saying students who do these things are any less valuable than those who do not. All I am saying is that I wish students would wake up to the real life trade-offs that exist when it comes to not putting as much effort into one’s education as one should. These trade-offs should also motivate students to put more work in, be more attentive in class, and realize that they are paying for this education so they might as well get as much out of it as they can.

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