A Little Clarification

Steve left a comment on the second half of my freshman year recap post. In my post I discussed being discontent with the way most students go about getting a degree and in addition, how I was starting to come out of a student hypnosis. He posed these two questions in response to my post “What is the student hypnosis? What is the way students try to get a degree?”Leave it to me to throw out ideas and not define them, so here is a little bit of clarification.

I think of the student hypnosis as a couple things. First of all, it is a sort of social conditioning that probably started in middle school, continued in high school, and has carried over into college and it is the idea that we are not supposed to enjoy school and classes. School has such a negative association because it something we are forced to do for so long that we can’t help but carry over the negative feelings. I feel like I am almost expected to complain about classes just to be normal. Maybe students think that it is safer to not like a class than to risk being a geek and *gasp* enjoy the class experience. I don’t think anyone hopes for a bad experience but, sometimes our attitudes towards class can set us up for disaster. This has been my experience in a lot of the intro courses I took this year, they were just full of people who rather be somewhere else. But if classes are just something to get through, why are we even at college? The student hypnosis is also the idea that there isn’t something more to education and that learning is just a checklist. Doing the minimum requirement is all that is really necessary, otherwise you are wasting your time. If there is not intrinsic value in each class and each class is its own separate sphere of pain, what is the point?
This student hypnosis leads to pursuing a degree in ways that are not at all fulfilling, in my opinion. A degree becomes another thing to be suffered through and again just another checklist. Students want what the degree represents but, are not willing to put in the real effort to accomplish it. It is kind of weird really, why would anyone subject themselves to the same mundane regurgitation they had been experiencing all those years in school? Perhaps it is because students don’t expect anything out of their professors and in turn we don’t want them to expect too much of us. It is an unspoken deal that has been made, the professors give us a checklist that we can dutifully check off and then at the end of four years we can add up all the checklists and be handed a degree. It may be the easy road to the degree but, God does it sound boring. And just because something might be challenging does it have to automatically be a negative thing? I would argue that it doesn’t have to be and I’m sure many other people would too. Yes, at times the challenging nature of things is not enjoyable but, doesn’t that make the end result all the more rewarding when reached? Again, this kind of goes back to the student hypnosis that has students avoiding anything challenging (unless it could appear on a resume or something else that could get them visible recognition). I’m sure at this point I sound horribly cynical (I am prone to pessimism) but, this is what I have seen my first year.

I don’t know if I am making this out to be worse than it is or if this is all a temporary sort of thing. What gets me the most and makes me so angry is that I see so much of myself in the aforementioned things. I think I need more time to sort out my thoughts and follow this up with another post, my head hurts just looking at all the stuff I just sort of word vomited on to the page. There is also something else I am missing that I can’t put my finger on, I think I’ll sleep on it.


3 Responses to “A Little Clarification”

  1. 1 Laura May 11, 2007 at 7:26 am

    I, too, read your reflective post and I think you’re spot on about the attitude of many students. You’d probably enjoy reading My Freshman Year which shows some of the same trends you discuss. I remember going through the same process as a freshman and realizing that not everyone around me wanted to learn. And, there were some classes that even I was kind of drifting through, but that’s okay. Not everything has to be the most rewarding experience ever.

    I’m wondering where the attitude comes from. It seems to be something that’s ingrained in students for years. I wonder if there’s any way to change it.

  2. 3 Serena May 14, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    I definitely read this and then had an entire discussion with my father about it during a car trip.

    Very interesting. When do we get a new blog post? đŸ˜‰

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