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imperfect attendance

So I was lying in bed, trying to convince myself to get up and go to class, even if I got there late. One of the things I tiredly said to myself was "You're paying for this."

But you know what? While I might be paying for this, this is not what I paid for - to sit in a classroom twice a week and try to think up something to add to a stilted, awkward discussion wherein most of my classmates don't speak or only speak up once for the entire 1.25 hours we're there, and we never seem to get anywhere, and rarely do we have actual debate, and our professor doesn't give us any guidance and rarely gives us any historical or cultural context for what we read and "discuss."

Look, I really am one of those people who enjoys lively debate and discussion. I want people to pull quotes from the text and make controversial remarks and disagree with people unexpectedly. I want to go to a class where everyone wants to talk and everyone wants to hear what others have to say, where the professor guides the discussion or supports that day's discussion leader, adding in tidbits of information or helping steer us toward a deeper understand of the readings. Yes, this class is easy, but that's because there isn't much expected of us, and everyone feels they can just sit back and let a few people do all the talking.

How many of my classmates go to class every day and speak up only once every class or two knowing that they're getting some sort of attendance/participation credit? That's bullshit. Why should I haul my ass out of bed to go attend a class just for a grade? That is not what I paid for! I am a senior at UW-Madison for God's sake! I do not pay your salary, Ms., so that you can just sit there and try to placate some people and tell us "good discussion" every day even when we know damn well it wasn't one.

This is how people get disillusioned with formal education. Thousands of dollars of debt for... a piece of paper with some fancy writing? An academic record?

What does that record tell you about me?

It doesn't tell you about all the times I stayed up 'til 4 in the morning talking with a resident who was questioning his sexuality and dealing with depression and parental pressure. It doesn't tell you about the speeches I've given at vigils for dead teens. It doesn't tell you about the friendships I've made through queer orgs. It doesn't tell you that I got a BC in that class because I only took it to fulfill a requirement and neither the professor nor the TA inspired in me much interest to actually go above and beyond the bare minimum of work.

It doesn't tell you about the eight jobs I've had during college, or the marches up State Street, or day after day spent protesting at the capitol, or having a breakdown at my first LGBT leadership institute, or helping to plan MBLGTACC 2010 and what a fuckup that turned out to be, or realizing I was bisexual only three weeks into my freshmen year, or having a 6am epiphany that I didn't want to be a theatre major.

Most of the major memories I have from college exist outside of the realm of academia, and many that are academic are negative - like the time a classmate leading a discussion in a women's health class brought in information about intimate partner violence in same-sex relationships from THE FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL and I was the only one who challenged it - not even my queer woman TA spoke up!

So, I guess, in conclusion, since I feel like I have to write a conclusion even though I'm so bad at it - hey, college, maybe that's something useful and academic you could've taught me: how to write a fucking conclusion! - In Conclusion:

This is beyond just senioritis. This is mental and physical exhaustion. This is affirmation of my decision to take a year off.

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
tifoetui
Apr. 9th, 2011 07:40 am (UTC)
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xerarhus
Apr. 14th, 2011 11:46 am (UTC)
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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )