Students, teachers not motivated

As I stood on the gruesome line to pay my tuition bill, I suddenly had the idea to see how much debt I had accrued to date. As I read over the amount, exactly $40,000 in debt, I thought to myself, the quality of education I received at St. John’s University wasn’t worth it at all. Even though it’s too late, I find myself wishing I had gone to another university. It is sad indeed to confess that I paid $16,000 in tuition a year and I have not learned much at all.

I have had highly educated and experienced professors, ranging from Ph.D.’s, lawyers, journalists and scientists. However, it’s evident that their standards are extremely low. I’ve had a professor who took off for an entire month of the semester for research. Another professor gave two exams the entire semester-and both were open book. Then, I heard of a science professor who announced on the first day of class that you if you showed up to class you would get an A-no questions asked. I’ve taken two English courses and haven’t had to read a single novel. In fact, after three years of college I haven’t once been assigned to read a classic novel. To top it all off, currently I have a professor who gives the exact answers to the test, one day before the test. I wonder what exactly the point of taking the exam is?

I know after hearing this, many of you may be thinking, “what is wrong with this girl, and why would she complain about a professor being easy.” I feel that this is the only time in my life that I will have the opportunity to learn about so many of the different subjects I take. When else in my life will I actually sit down and study the themes of the poems of T. S. Eliot or the reason why Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world or even why epistemology is a branch of philosophy? Why do you think chain book stores like Barnes & Noble have become so popular across this country, because people strive to study different areas.

During college we are given that opportunity. It disheartens me to see so many students at St John’s passing it by.

According to many professors, they do not teach to their potential because of the lack of student interest and I agree with that. When a professor walks into a class that’s half empty, the incentive to teach is no longer there. Most students don’t even make the attempt to shut off their cell phones and when they do ring some have the audacity to pick them up and start their conversations. My classes seemed to be filled with young women who look like they took the wrong bus and were headed toward the club, and many young men who blatantly disrespect professors. It seems so many of the students care more about what they are wearing than the education they are receiving. If you disagree, take a walk through Marillac Cafeteria and count how many students actually have a book. Since 80 percent of the student population work over 20 hours a week, students seem to be in a rush to get out of class and to work. Clearly, this attitude toward learning discourages professors and gives me absolutely no motivation to succeed. It’s evident that this seems to be a never-ending cycle. The students feed off of the professors and the professors feed off of the students. Clearly though, it is the duty of the professional to break this cycle.

I have always been the type of person who is motivated and inspired by others. When I see my peers succeeding, I get the urge to succeed. But when I see study lounges in my dorm empty, it’s hardly a motivator to study. When I go to an art exhibit opening on women’s history and only five students show up, I’m not exactly encouraged to attend another. And when I see students at the dining hall yelling at the immigrant workers when they simply ask them to pick up their trays, I am disgusted.

If I am dedicating four years of my life, missing precious time away from my family and paying a small fortune to attend this university, I expect to leave an educated woman and I don’t think that is asking too much. In these four years, I could have studied in a mosque in Spain or gone to India and helped the earthquake victims, but I chose to come to St. John’s. What I got definitely wasn’t what I had expected.

The education we receive at this university will always be with us. It makes me nervous to think that I am going to be in law school soon and I really don’t have much to take with me. This is the education we will use to educate our own children and on which we will base our entire lives. I encourage all of you to take college seriously and absorb all the knowledge you are given, because one day you, too, will look back and wonder what you learned in college.