To be quite honest, I was a serious slacker during my first year at CNU. Coming in from high school, which had been pretty easy for me, I thought all my classes would be a breeze and I would be one smart cookie.
College courses can be a whole other monster sometimes, especially when people (read: me) think they can rely on just their wits and intelligence to pass, which can have some serious consequences about how we think about learning. Take me, for example. Feeling frustrated with how difficult I was finding my classes, during class registration for the spring, I decided I would overload myself with a string of “easy” classes to make the learning experience better for myself.
That had horrible consequences, and not just in terms of my grades. The thing is, when we view college and our courses as something that should be easy and comfortable and fun, we are really giving into this idea of the business model of education,* which describes school as a transactional relationship between professors and students. Professors teach, students memorize, students get good grades, students promptly forget after their exams.
So are you really, truly learning anything? When we give in to this model, we are not pushing and stretching ourselves to learn and change. Even more insidiously, when we do badly in our classes, we blame professors for not making it easy for us, or for making us work too hard, rather than blaming ourselves for completely botching the opportunity to learn.
Because that’s what school is: an opportunity, not a product.
The solution in this case is to challenge yourself with new experiences. Try something you are interested in, but wouldn’t have thought to take before because you were worried about grades! Personally, I have always found it extremely rewarding to take classes that were difficult, and then mastering them—the feeling that you did work your butt off for that grade is so gratifying. So, stretch your capabilities, take intellectually stimulating classes and who knows, you might end up with a new passion!
*To learn more about the business model of education, try taking Communication 325!