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Academic attitudes need altering

On April 7, 2014

The attitudes of students attending universities are becoming more reflective of compulsory junior high than of a secondary education opportunity.

The difference is immense; junior high students are forced to attend class, do not pay user fees and have little freedom in selecting where they attend school and their courses of study.

Students who attend a university have voluntarily made the decision to attend, pay for their tuition along with tons of fees and choose where and what they would like to study.

With the high cost of universities leaving so many students saddled with thousands of dollars of debt, the attitude of so many college students is baffling.

Maybe the shift has taken place as bachelor degrees have become the new normal for a high school diploma, or the push to attend a secondary school is so strong it has become expected or maybe even that the ability to attend secondary institutions has become too easy.

While I am not arguing that the increase in access for secondary education is bad, its presence may have triggered consequences, especially the attitude shift to secondary education.

Universities and colleges are supposed to be sanctuaries for understanding and the sharing and growing of knowledge. They rely heavily on strong faculty that can guide and facilitate the discovery of learning. But what if the desires to learn, discover and create no longer exist?

I believe we can see the beginnings of this very problem on our very own campus, where the sense of discovery has been lost and the monotony of attending lectures has taken over.

This lack of ambition to learn could look very much like celebrating when school is canceled, taking extra days to pad weeklong spring breaks or showing up five minutes late to class and packing up five minutes before class is done.

What doesn’t make any sense is the logic behind being happy when classes are canceled or simply not attending courses already paid for.

When factoring in tuition and the loads of fees from Arkansas State University, each three credit course costs around $750. When subtracting for snow days, spring break and testing days, each 50 minute class period cost students around $20.

This means that when the snow day came and class was canceled, students paid $20 but recieved nothing in return.

Instead of elation from the student body for time off, there should have been anger for getting ripped off.

This new attitude toward class has provoked not only the celebrations for snow days but also prayers for more.

To compound frustrations as a student, I am completely dumbfounded by the percentage of students who show up to class late or start packing up early.

When there is still time left and classmates start putting away notes and zipping up bags when the professor is still talking, the class is disrupted.

If these same disruptive students were attending a movie at the theatre and I started putting away my stuff and making a lot of noise when the movie was finishing, they would be irate. But for some reason when a class that costs over twice as much as a movie is wrapping up, they find it acceptable to disrupt everyone.

There needs to be an attitude shift back to seeing secondary education as an opportunity to better ourselves, instead of just more years of forced education.

Thomas Jefferson, who enthusiastically dedicated his life to learning said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

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