Mar 262012
Authors: Andrew Shelton

Like the disclosure of any cool secret, this particular one is sure to astound and amaze. It will do so because it is shockingly simple. Some students have spent their entire college careers searching for that one thing they can do that will really prepare them to graduate and conquer the world.

They probably did things like ask their older family members or counselors. College presents a diversity of challenges and they probably assumed the solution to overcoming them was equally complicated. This is not so. The key to growing into a ready-for-primetime player in the so-called “adult world” is right in front of us. Taking this secret to heart will give us the discipline, patience and focus to succeed in modern economy and at life in general. Ready?

Here it is: Stop packing up before class is over.

It’s rude and pointless. Let’s first dispense the delusion that there is any utility involved. Leaving class 15 seconds early is not going to make or break an on-time arrival at the next class. The irony of students beginning to ignore their professors before lecture is over and trying to rationalize it by claiming they don’t want to miss anything important in their next class is comical.

It is flagrantly disrespectful to the instructors, and I’ve asked many why they tolerate it. One of them gave the response: “It’s really your problem.” I take 15 classes per week. Based on students checking out three minutes early –– which is a conservative figure, in the bigger lectures it’s often five –– by the end of the semester, the total will be 10.5 hours. For a non-resident student attending 12 class sessions per week, the value of that time based on 2011-12 tuition is $1,424 per year. We’re willfully squandering our own time and resources for zero gain.

The instructors don’t get compensated any less if we do this. They’re not here for the crappy pay, but because they love their fields and imparting knowledge. Why do they tolerate such childish behavior? The answer lies in the aforementioned professor’s response: It’s not their responsibility.

The only way social contracts function is when all participants agree to abide by them. If every person in Colorado suddenly decides to commit a robbery, there aren’t going to be enough cops to stop them. The state doesn’t spend endless millions hiring enough law enforcement to cover such a contingency because they don’t have to. Society has collectively agreed to abide by the laws we’ve set. The faculty operates under the assumption that every student who enrolls here has done so knowing they are expected to act according to a respectful and adult code of conduct. There is no contingency in place to deal with this problem, because there should not have to be.

Professors don’t threaten to knock points off everyone’s grades for packing up early because those types of punitive tactics are reserved primarily for 14-year-olds.

The people whom we will try to convince to hire us harbor many stereotypes about our generation. Packing up early embodies most, if not all of them. They perceive us to be impatient souls conditioned to desire instant gratification in every aspect of our lives. They believe that growing up exposed to phones, Internet and television has left with mosquito-like attention spans. Do we really want to validate the claim that our modus operandi is to mentally check out of activities that no longer interest us?

Bottom line: This is about respect. Let’s have some respect for our peers. When we pack up and create a huge racket while our fellow students are trying to listen, it erodes the value of their educations in addition to our own. Let’s have some respect for our instructors. They are standing in front of us because they truly care about imparting knowledge. Let’s not throw that concern in their faces by ignoring their words and disrupting the academic atmosphere they are working hard to cultivate.

The biggest secret of college life though is to have some respect for ourselves. Putting our notebooks away when there are four minutes of note-taking left makes us look like idiots.

Andrew Shelton is senior political science major.

 Posted by at 3:56 pm

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