Thoughts on hectic schedules, student loans and lackluster lectures
Dear Xavier Professors,
I know that a lot of you are very enthusiastic, motivated people who work hard each and every day to make sure that your students are learning important things about the world and themselves. This letter is not about those of you who fall into this group. Trust me, you are appreciated, and I have experienced firsthand how some of your students get together after class and discuss what they’ve learned from your lectures.
If you have a feeling that you don’t fall into the aforementioned category, there are a couple of things I think you need to understand about your students.
First of all, the class you are teaching is not the only class we’re taking. A lot of my professors during my time at Xavier seem to be under the impression that their classes should require students to be doing homework, studying and stopping by office hours for a cumulative 40 hours per week. Full-time students are required to take at least four classes a semester. So how is it that you expect us to dedicate that kind of time and effort when we have equally as pressing deadlines in every other course?
I understand that we are in an institution of higher education, but the circumstances surrounding higher education have changed since you got your bachelor’s degree, and it’s high time you adjust to it.
The main change is that school is not my only responsibility. This might surprise you, but because a school year costs the same as one and a half new Toyota Camrys, it has become increasingly important to find gainful employment. For me, that consists of chauffeuring a four-year-old home from school every week and walking a fleet of Malteses every Tuesday as well as babysitting as much as possible. Many of my friends and classmates work for the university in addition to their part-time jobs.
Then, because we need to pay off six Toyota Camrys plus interest when we graduate, we’re also supposed to be getting work experience in our fields, so many of us start internships that don’t pay anything. Then we try to beef up our resumes with leadership roles and club officer positions Meanwhile, we also try not to cry too much because our counselors at McGrath have seen enough of that.
Now, many of us are fortunate enough to have received scholarships from Xavier. I am the recipient of a merit-based scholarship and I have to maintain a certain GPA to keep it. I thought that GPA would be easy to keep up when I first got here, but then I realized how many professors are wholly unequipped to be educators.
I am expected to jump through hoops and meet the standards of professors who do not care whether or not I’m learning anything. I have been in at least five classes in which the highest test score was below 70 percent and the professor refused to curve. It is highly unlikely that every student in the class is a moron. It is entirely probable that you did a poor job of teaching the material.
We should not be expected to pay the tuition that we do in order to receive a second-tier education. I came here because I thought the professors were of a higher caliber, and as I expressed before, many of them have been. There are professors I haven’t had since freshman year whose lectures I can still quote because they weren’t just experts in their fields, they were teachers.
At the same time, however, I have been underserved by several members of the faculty who have no business considering themselves of that same caliber. You may be a lecturer or an instructor, but you haven’t taught anything. You’ve simply spoken to a mass of young, open minds that you had the opportunity to mold. Instead, you left us hanging out to dry with absurd expectations and arbitrary policies.
We’re not lazy and we’re not stupid. We’re exhausted and overextended. Our work ethics are held to unreasonable standards, and we’re expected to meet requirements that don’t make any sense. So the next time you think that we’re falling short of your assumption of what’s doable, consider that you might have more to do with the problem than you think.