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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Professors shouldn’t assign all important coursework at the end of the year

As students enter the dreaded last few weeks of the semester, we sharpen our pencils, refill our coffee mugs and double check our printer ink. We’ve all been here before. We all know the workload is almost unbearable. Between classes, papers, exams and projects it seems like we are all living under a mountain of work.

Since we’re all so used to being treated this way, we never question why or how our education system got to this point. Students shouldn’t have to expect to have to hole up in the library for two weeks under a pile of books. Nonetheless, this is the reality we face.

Why do professors have the right to overload students with no respect for the fact that there are other classes and other professors demanding work? Professors need to be more cognizant of the work they’re expecting students to provide in these last few weeks. The workloads not only make it difficult for students to finish these projects on time, but also give them disproportionate levels of stress that can often lead to depression and anxiety.

Margarita Tartakovsky an associate editor at Psych Central writes: “According to a survey from the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), universities and colleges also have seen an increase in students seeking services for anxiety disorders.”

Additionally, the onset for these mental health disorders starts right around college age and according to the National Institute of Mental Health, “75 percent of all individuals with an anxiety disorder will experience symptoms before age 22.” Many experts believing this is due to the workload on college students.

Getting more overworked and stressed at such a young age can visibly affect mental health later in life. If we are noticing these effects now, wouldn’t it make sense to try to alter the system in some way?

Professors may not be giving these projects as busy work and they could be truly important to understanding and wrapping up the course as a whole. We don’t need to completely change these courses or not give this work. There can be changes made in schedules and from professor to professor.

Many times at the beginning of the semester, there is a lot of busy work that isn’t entirely relevant to the course. Professors could rework their schedules to earlier accommodate what they know would otherwise pile up at the end of the semester.

If you’re in multiple courses in the same college or multiple prerequisites for one major that professors know all students in that concentration have to take, the professors in those courses should communicate with one another and coordinate.

Some may say these stressors are important for students to learn what it is like to have deadlines and projects in our future careers. Others think the busyness we experience now is important training for the busyness we will experience as adults. This may be true — depending on each student’s future plans — but the pull from three to five different professors demanding the same level and amount of work is not something often experienced in the workplace.

In order to expect the best possible work done on time by diligent students, professors have to understand the amount of work being put on each student. If they want to settle for essays done during all-nighters or disjointed group projects they should continue these practices.

Students must push professors to change their policies for the future, but without any immediate changes coming, as these next few weeks approach, we settle into our desks, brew more coffee and prepare our pages of notes.Follow Sabrina Etcheverry on Twitter.


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