Amid the non-stop complaining, bickering and pleading with the professors that I’ve heard from my peers, I have come to the realization that we as students do not truly appreciate the opportunity we have here. Not to point the finger of blame because I know I can be a lazy student as well. Last weekend (and numerous similar weekends), I lollygagged from 1:30 Friday afternoon until 12:15 a.m.
Monday, thereby forcing myself to pull a completely unnecessary all-nighter in order to write a paper. We’ve all made bad decisions, and we’ve all slacked. We’ve all groaned at some point in our collegiate career when a professor has said or done something we do not like. It seems like we all hate “hard” professors and avoid them at all costs. Similarly we all seem to dislike the “smart” kid in the class; the one that breaks the curve or answers all of the questions correctly. We don’t read, and we hate when the professors call us out on it. We try to see how much we can avoid doing to still end up with a desirable grade. But honestly, I think we do not value our education because we care too much about meaningless points as made most evident by our understanding of the role of finals.
Currently, our culture and treatment of final exams just perpetuate the devaluing of our educational experience because we focus too much on the test and not enough on actually learning the material. Anyone can cram for an exam, do really well and forget the material by the next morning. I’ve done that plenty of times and have come to have a decent GPA, but now that I’m looking back, I can realize how unrewarding it is to not be able to remember much of what you’ve “learned” throughout the years.
Also, final exams are meaningless points. Tests are only worth the steps you take afterward, they in themselves do not teach us anything. They point out our strengths and weaknesses and give us an opportunity to re-examine the material in order to learn more and better ourselves. Therefore finals are pointless because there is no recourse, and we rarely even get the direct results. We don’t get to see what questions we got wrong and don’t get to learn from our mistakes. Really, finals prove nothing about the caliber of student. They just show how much students can memorize in two study days.
That’s why instead of basing our academic aptitude on one test, we should have the option of self evaluations. Self evaluations would give us a chance to take an earnest look at our education and empower us as students. We should be able to sit down with professors and have a serious discussion about what we have learned and how we can apply any of it to our lives. Then we should be able to determine our own grade for that course. I know that may seem like a no-brainer. Everyone would give themselves A’s, and we’d be back where we started. Yes, it will take some maturity on the part of the student, but hopefully people would be able to realize it is for their own good. After all, when we graduate it doesn’t matter how well a professor thinks we did if we are unable to be confident in our own abilities. Ask yourself, for whom are you learning?
Class of 2010