The Inner-Workings of College

Hey everyone, it’s R.S. Noel here with another post! Today, I’ll be discussing the possible reasons why many young students in American colleges may not be performing (or exceeding) expectations at the university-level. Luckily for me, I took about 2 years off from college when I had gotten 1 year deep and realized I had more B’s then A’s. Nowadays, I have primarily A’s, with a couple of outliers here and there.

But I digress, here are some of the possible reasons for young students not reaching their academic goals or career aspirations in college:

1. Not Accustomed to the Workload

Often times, I find that my fellow peers feel increasingly overwhelmed by the volume of work expected out of each individual student. Take for example in my Statistics class. Many of the younger students, of all races, nationalities, and origins, often times bemoan the fact that we have so much homework. It’s become a class effort to try and downsize the homework load, but to no avail, my professor is committed to giving us the full-experience of what math can be like in the upper division echelons. I’ve come to realize that this may also be a cultural difference in the way we’ve raised our children in the American public school system (if you attended a private school, then it may very well be a whole different story for you). I can see the stigma this whole generation is faced with in terms of unfair disadvantages of being coddled too much or reassured in life one-to-many-times. Sometimes, it’s best to become accustomed to the natural (or sometimes unnatural) changes in our daily lives.

2.  A Sense of Hopelessness

Many days, I can almost see the seething sense of hopelessness today’s young adults feel in conjunction to the daily realities of life. From my pure observations of other students on campus and also in the classroom setting, I’ve begun to get the feeling that many of today’s young adults feel disadvantaged in some way (economic? less stability in the job market? or perhaps even realizing there really is nothing they can do about that fact). I’ve heard from a couple of professors already state that some of us should become entrepreneurs. To which I respond, you need a culmination of good luck, a good safety-net of money to fall back on if it all falls through, and a realistic blueprint for how one can achieve their goals and aspirations as an entrepreneur. Personally, I’ve always known that my true aspiration, in terms of functioning in society, aligns with being some kind of entrepreneur on whatever level that may be (microprenuer, social entrepreneur, and the list goes on lol). Overall however, I really understand my generation; because let’s face it, all young adults grow up in a world not run by themselves. Human civilization has always been run by those who came before us, not the other way around.

3. Not Enough Time to Study Critical Material

There are so many outside variables that dictate our lives. We all, to some degree, have varying combinations of these variables. Whether it be long-work hours, or children we must attend to, or even the realities of not having easy transportation to our desired destinations, life for a college student in America can begin to seem very arduous (which is good); but perhaps a little too arduous. I’m fortunate to be able to own a car, and to be able to pay the fees that come with owning a car. But for those students who can’t afford to own a basic vehicle, or even to be able to have any other reliable source of transportation, schooling can be very difficult to keep with at the university level. I’m not trying to defend lazy people, because I’ve come to discover that there are plenty of lazy individuals in the world. But what I’m trying to say, is the level of studying really is crucial to passing critical courses such as  a Mathematics class like Calculus, or even a Physical Science class like Anthropology. It’s not possible to do everything at once, or study all your class courses throughout the day. In fact, I’ve found that I’ve needed to split up my classes per each day of the work-week. So, for example, Mondays I work on Statistics, Accounting 101, and sometimes Computer & Information Science 101. Then on Tuesday, I’ll focus on Business 101 and some more Statistics and Accounting 101. The key here, is that for me at least, I need to spend more time on Statistics and Accounting each day, thus I must spread out Business 101 and Computer & Information Science 101 on  every other “odd” or “even” day. In the long run, however, it really just does come down to having enough time to making the time to study for this material. College can be difficult for those who have to juggle more than just school, and I’ve known plenty of college students who are great students, but are held back from using their full potential, since they can’t have the basic advantage of being able to focus on school full-time. Most of us have to work more than just one job in order to stay afloat in today’s inflated economy. It’s hard to make ends meet, and I can only imagine how much more difficult it will get in the coming years ahead.

 4. Cost of Tuition

The most obvious hinderance to any student is the “unmovable” obstacle of trying to achieve their academic success. Even at the Community College level, the price of tuition is rising. Even though it certainly is waaaaayyyyy cheaper to start your college career out of a community college, it still costs money if you work part-time or full-time. For those who don’t work at all and go to school full-time; you either have to play a sport in order to get scholarships/grants for athletics (if you qualify), or you have to sign up for every program imaginable (FAFSA, EOPS, and the list goes on and on). Many students have dreams and aspirations of making it in the academic field. They may even have dreams of going for their Masters or Doctorates, but the one common enemy amongst all of this is that tuition at the 4-year university level has arisen to astronomical levels unheard of in American education history. Throughout all the levels of education, the one that’s been hit the most (tied with high school) are colleges (universities). Though it’s been five years since I was in high school, I’ve been keeping up with the budget cuts and other “cost-efficient” cuts made to public high schools. Before I left my high school five years ago, I remember the librarian, Mrs. Snyder, who I saw as a great mentor during my high school years, was laid off with all the other librarians across California, as the Board of Education believed it was “cost-efficient” to cut them out of their salaries expense. To this day, I’ll never forget her and what an awesome and knowledgeable woman she was. I wish I got her phone number down, but I know it all happened so quickly that I never really got a chance to speak with her again. These are just some of the casualties we face in the education system when it comes to budget cuts. “The people” are the ones who are the most expendable apparently, thus, we must bear and grin it!

5. Assimilation into the Mentality of High-Nosed Snobs

This last one is a personal favorite of mine. I’ve come to see, throughout the last 4-5 years now, just how stuck up and self-entitled a good portion of professors, faculty, and staff members have become at any level of university, whether it be the community college level or the university level. I began to notice this trend of strange behavior when my older brother was in his last year of university himself. He graduated, luckily, for the professor that ran many of the classes and programs for his senior year of university life at Cal Sate Los Angeles was truly a cruel man. This man had no reason to be mean to all of his students, but he was anyways. At one point, a couple of the parents had to get involved with the Superintendent in order to resolve this issue of strange behavior. Even after all of the hard work my brother put in, and even after all of the hours of fine-tuning his graphic design projects, he was given a “C” in the class with many other students alongside. One shocking revelation that came out of this all, was that this professor was habitually known for doing this to the majority of his classes, and the administration did nothing about it since he had “tenure”. One girl, who was a foreign exchange student, and who was in the senior-level class even admitted to wanting to end the misery by taking her own life. Shockingly enough, one of the higher ups (which I’ll leave anonymous) didn’t even bat an eye or didn’t even follow through with some kind of recommendation to see one of the school’s counselor’s. My older brother had gone with her for support and to help her, since she knew very little english. Moral of the story, the upper echelons of the university culture in America (and perhaps, or very likely, in other parts of the world), are run by those who rule almost purely with no regard for human empathy. Some say this is good, that it “weeds” out students. But others seem to agree that this kind of behavior is very unbecoming of professional and authoritative figures amongst the university community.

 

With that said, these were the 5 most important reasons why I believe many students are either disadvantaged, or further stigmatized, for their “incompetencies” to try and finish college under these sometimes severe conditions. Truth be told, I think it really is time we pull back on the rising tuition cost. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’ll be in the next 10 years. It’s scary to think about, and also, a little sad as well. Many potential students in the future won’t even dare to take that leap of faith to start the arduous journey to becoming academically successful, and thus, becoming a part of the ever-evolving and ever-growing work-force.

 

Forever in Your Debt,
R.S. Noel

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