Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spring, Sprang, Sprung

    I think I always liked spring better than fall. For one reason, school gets out in spring; while in fall, it's just beginning a whole new year. I like to see the flowers coming up--the irises were already pushing up a couple weeks ago in February here. A few trees around campus are getting leaves. I can't say I dislike spring more than fall for allergies, because I always seem to get them in both seasons. Spring is when I get to start bringing out my cute sandals and shoes, when I don't have to wear three layers of clothing anymore to survive the weather, and, I have a spring birthday.
    It seems that so many nice things happen in spring for me. The only thing about spring that isn't so nice happens at school. Yes, it does mean that school's almost out for three months, but it also means it's time to knuckle down. For some reason, the end of spring semester at school (in college, anyway) always seems to be much more exhausting and frustrating than the end of fall semester.

Crappy cell phone picture from two years ago :)
    It's possible that Spring Break causes this. Teachers have several weeks after break and before finals, so they have plenty of time to assign papers, projects, and excessively time-consuming assignments in this half of the semester. In the fall, Thanksgiving break (or fall break--as they seem to think is a more PC term...) occurs only about 2 weeks before finals. So teachers don't have the time (and, I might add, aren't permitted to) assign any large assignments or tests during the week prior to finals. In any case, the end of spring semester (subsequent to the break) always seems to cause more stress and cramming than any other time of the semester, even midterms and finals.
    I'm really hoping that this spring will be different. However, I have no syllabus for any of my classes that has concrete dates on it for anything except the final. I have no idea when my papers will be assigned, when my tests will be, or worst of all, whether they will all be due at the same time. Teachers must all run on the same wavelength when it comes to due dates, because they always want to assign something to be due at the exact same time as in other classes, or at least within a few days of each other, having no consideration or concern for the fact that, as much as they'd like to think otherwise, students do have other classes they're taking, and--gasp!--those other classes might be more important than their own class.
    There is a kind of hubris that I think you develop if you become a teacher. You find your subject incredibly interesting and relevant, so everyone else ought to, too. This is a mistake. In a class of 30 or 40 students, maybe 5 will enjoy it and appreciate it. It's probably less if it's a particularly unpleasant class like biochemistry or advanced calculus. While it may be a helpful subject or a required subject for some students, there are very few who will actually like it and commit any of it to long-term memory deliberately.
    Upon reflection, it looks like I've only taken 5 classes, out of 37 in my undergrad, that I actually liked. Now, this is classes only--I've had plenty of teachers that I liked. Most of the teachers I had, in fact, were good teachers. There was only maybe 1 each semester that wasn't. But considering I spent three and a half years in college for my BA, and I only liked a total of 5 classes that I took--that's only 1 semester's worth of classes, by the way--it seems like I mostly wasted a lot of time and money studying things that I didn't care for. While I may have learned a few things on the way, and met a few really interesting and intelligent people, that still seems like an unusually small percentage of my education spent on topics I enjoyed.
    While I can't say I regret my time as an undergrad, or even the degree I got (though it has done me little practical good so far)--I did enjoy being in school and taking those classes even if many were for the teachers rather than the subject matter--it is deeply troubling to consider the results of a college education. Its near inability to help me find a job, its expense, and the fact that, if I'd had more of a choice in my classes and still have been able to graduate on time, I probably would have taken a much wider variety of classes. I could have spent more time studying things that interested me rather than putting up with classes that I had to take for my major, or core credit.
    I guess the ball is in my college's court: College must redeem itself and give me a good reason to stay. If it doesn't, well, I guess I've some serious soul-searching to do...
    And, I'm sure you've noticed, I managed to digress--again. I edited out some of the even worse digressions before I published this one too. After all this, to return to my original topic, I'm glad it's getting to be spring. I'm hoping that spring fever will hit everyone and they'll be in such good moods, they'll be more flexible about due dates, extensions, and life in general.
Spring forward.


Outnumbered said...

I hate the end of EVERY semester (finals and xmas shopping is horrible for me! I think I definitely have senioritis...I just don't want to do any of my reading, I don't want to write any papers and I certainly don't want to study :(

Constant Writer said...

That is a good point about fall semester--I never get my Christmas shopping done until after finals, which means it's all pretty much last minute!
A little senioritis is normal, I think. It can even help you de-stress, as long as it doesn't persist for too long!

+Constant Writer

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