Yesterday in the Washington Post, Daniel de Vise examined whether college is “too easy.” After graduating yesterday, I, and most members in the class of 2012, can attest to the fact that college is not “too easy.”
Critics in the article are disparaged by the fact that in 1961 students spent around 24 hours a week studying for classes, while today students study anywhere from 13 to 20 hours, depending on their major.
I’m not sure if these provosts and academics (RE: Nerds) who are up in arms realized there is a 50-year gap in time between those two sets of numbers. The article they interviewed for is on this thing called the Internet. I know it sounds like a majestical, space-age creature, but it’s actually a fine research tool. Somewhere along the lines the jump from pencil and paper to the computer probably helped cut that time down too, in case anyone was wondering.
The fact of the matter is, those numbers don’t matter. Especially when you consider the rigors and expectations of the college experience when facing a job market that looks like an ocean trench. Students are constantly bombarded with idea that their degree is worthless without those all important (Most of the time poorly or complete void of pay) internships. Throw in a part time job for some pocket cash, that pesky human need to be social and 14 hours of post-class study looks pretty good.
In the article George Washington University provost Peter Stearns says these numbers concern him, saying, “It’s not enough.”
What the hell do you want from students then, Stearns? More hours slaving over a hot keyboard followed up by hours spent at an internship for sweatshop pay? For them to throw their friendships in the garbage disposal in pursuit of a degree that will probably take them from the graduation stage to the no man’s land of unemployment? His comments on the supposed trend in plummeting study time wreaks of another high-level administrator who clearly can’t connect with the students he presides over.
College isn’t all books and stuffy lectures anymore, you old fogies. Students work hard in the classroom. However, they also have the time and opportunity to dive into a club or activist group on campus. They have time to take that grunt-level internship and turn it into something that will help them land their first job.
Yes, there is plenty of time for socializing, drinking and banging, but what did you want to do when you were a 20-year-old brimming with life and energy? That aspect of college has plenty of life lessons in its own. Guess what else it does? Teaches kids how to interact with others. If students spent all their time in the library, they’d be a bunch of bumbling, awkward idiots when it’s time for the big interview.
The professionals in the article who say college is too easy are the same people who claim they walked uphill to and from class. That is to say, they’re out of touch.
Photo from http://financialaidoffice.info/obama-and-student-financial-aid/