I am a U of T student again. This sentence is synonymous to: I am a masochist.
I've enrolled in a 200 level English course that cost $742, and is worth half a credit. It marks my FIFTH return to the hallowed halls of the education system. I am ten years older than most of the other 200 students squeezed into our tiny lecture hall. The professor is a portly stuttering ginger who panders to the lowest common denominator.
The students are moronic.
I cannot believe how much time is wasted on class participation. It floors me how often the prof asks us what we think, and how alarmingly uninspired every response is. It's obvious that 98% of the students who offer commentary didn't bother listening to the question. The responses are not considered. The unconsidered responses are repeated. The professor tells these people that they're "on the right track" and so next time around their hand shoots into the air again.
Everyone there very recently learned and now LOVE the word "dichotomy". They're pretty sure they know what "irony" means, and they are grossly mistaken: "I was thinking that, like, maybe it's ironic that there's such, like, a dichotomy between the two protagonists when they're so different." One student called Margaret Atwood a hypocrite for saying she didn't write science fiction when "she writes about dragons cause, like, isn't THAT science fiction? I mean, I feel like it is but I don't really know." (This comment was made while there was a slide up which quotes Atwood as saying I do not write about dragons.) (ALSO OBVIOUSLY ATWOOD DOESN'T WRITE ABOUT DRAGONS.)
Nick tells us that in his classes, it's common for his 20-something year old classmates to begin a response with well, my mom is a such-and-such, and she says that _____
Jones calculated - using her PhD skills - that it costs me $4 every time one of the students raises his or her hand and blathers in circles until the professor says yep, yep, good, but why do you think that? FOUR DOLLARS. That's a pint of beer at the Lakeview! I estimate we spend approximately 40 minutes of the 3 hour lecture this way. This is the equivalent of going to the Lakeview and dying of alcohol poisoning.
Guess which I would rather do.
Guess which I would rather do.
I don't mean to say that all these students are halfwits and that I'm a genius. (I also think that, but that's not the point of this rant.) I'm just embarrassed how little effort every one is putting in. These poor sots think they need to get a degree and chose a BA because it's easy and they have OSAP and because no one told them and they're too young to care or know any better. They're too young full stop. Or are they? I'm getting more arrogant as I get older, I know, but criticism feels warranted when one watches this:
The students on that show have a median age of 19 or 20. I realize they're at the top of their game, but given my experience, one couldn't find four students in any University of Toronto college that could even remotely compete with whatever the equivalent to Trent U is in the UK. This includes me. Maybe what pisses me off is that I watch University Challenge and feel like a dunderhead, and then I go to actual university and feel like fucking Shakespeare. I want to feel challenged when I pay that kind of money. I know it sounds nuts, but I'd like to fucking learn.
Perhaps I'm confusing wisdom with intelligence. Perhaps these mouth-flappers never heard the proverb "it's better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak up and remove all doubt". Perhaps their mothers were too liberal with motherly praise, and their high school teacher too undiscerning with their grading. I'm not going to say I fear for the future, because there are twits everywhere. I will say, though, that the irrationally romantic respect I had for higher education has gone belly up. I will also offer some advice that will make the world a better place:
Teachers: Fail more students.
Universities: Let fewer people in.
Students: Go to college. Get a trade, and then a job. Only get a Bachelor of Arts if you love what you're studying and you are interested in being a hungry disgruntled receptionist.