Of the nearly 20,000 students who attend Temple’s Main Campus, a majority commute. As one of those commuters, I’ve often found myself running across campus and arriving on the train platform disheveled and out of breath. While I have my complaints about SEPTA, more often than not, they’re not the ones causing me to be late. Professors are.
As a general rule, I don’t like to be rude. But if a professor is still talking when a class is supposed to end and I have somewhere to be, I’ll leave. Even if I am enjoying the class, it makes no difference. When class is over, it’s over.
“I feel rude because it might be in the middle of a lecture, and you [have to] cut in front of the professor to leave. But class is over at 8:30, [and] I’m leaving,” said Kimberly Hill, a senior journalism student.
Like her, I take a 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. night class this semester that meets once a week. Like her, my class is in Annenberg, which might as well be on the other side of the planet since it’s so far from the train station. Students can often be overheard complaining about how professors teach evening classes and don’t let students out until the very last minute.
A case can be made that students aren’t forced to take night classes, that it is our choosing. But this simply is not true for many students. As much as I enjoy learning, it wasn’t my wish to take a class that ends at 8:30 p.m. The class is required and was the only one that fit into my schedule.
Professors should have the same mentality as students when it comes to night classes. While it is true they are paid to show up and teach – and we have to pay to be taught – they make the long commute just like many of us. Some might even be driving from out of state. One would think they would be just as anxious to leave as we are.
“The problem is when I have a break, it’s a once a week class, two hours and a half. The class is too long,” said professor J. Jay Choi, who teaches a 4:40 p.m. to 7:10 p.m. finance class that meets every Tuesday. “But after the break, many people just don’t come back.”
Since the night class I’m taking is a research-heavy class, I can’t afford to do that. Many of the assignments are in-class only. A couple of weeks ago, the class ran over, causing me to miss my train and forcing me to wait another hour for the next one.
Professors should realize that not every student lives on or close to campus. Not every student drives down here. Our lives exist outside of Temple where we have to run to catch a train clear across campus to make it to work on time. Sometimes we even run barefoot.
Megan Suermann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.