When is the last time that you, as a Temple student, went an entire day, let alone a week or a semester, without hearing a classmate or friend rail and gripe about how impossible it is to graduate on time at this university?
It’s probably been a while.
Temple’s administrative system is infamous for being a central inhibitive force in its students’ graduation processes. Most of us have stories about this phenomenon, along the lines of missing grades, dropped rosters and delayed financial aid.
And many of us spend an inordinate amount of time getting angry at the bureaucracy of the university, telling anyone who will listen how we don’t have time to stand in line again, or fill out more forms or track down professors for overrides.
The stress is too great, we say, and Temple doesn’t really want us to graduate, on time or at any time.
Well, it’s time to grow up.
While Temple’s bureaucracy may be slightly more encumbering than the average university, it’s pretty much on par with the rest of this country’s public colleges. And it’s several excruciating degrees ahead of government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the dreaded Internal Revenue Service. Or, for that matter, Congress.
Since there are very few colleges in this country graduating even half the students in four years, why do Temple students act and feel so singularly oppressed?
It’s got to be the students.
If one were to compare a group of average Temple students with that of other state universities, one would find that the Temple students work more hours off-campus, have more kids, more financial aid, and more non-academic responsibility overall.
And that’s good.
The beauty of Temple’s justly heralded diversity is not that the university is open to all races, creeds and sexual orientations; every college should be and most are. The secret of Temple’s diversity is that so many of us here spend half our lives in the real world already, that while the student population may not be directly of the neighborhood, it is of this city, of this nation and of this world.
It is easy to understand the frustration that many students feel in dealing with Temple’s bureaucracy; graduating from college is difficult in and out of the classroom, and should continue to be.
Students here ought to understand the more annoying facets of the Temple experience for what they really are: glimpses of the real.