Users of Lynx and disabled readers can jump directly to page content with this link.
A University Student's Responsibilities
In high school, teachers have a more in-depth role in making sure you learn. Lessons cater more to a lower common denominator, proving that you get the basic idea is rewarded more than proving you can apply the idea in a complex manner, and you're given all the basics for things like how to write a sentence, a paragraph, a story, etc. High school is the time to practice learning and to practice the skills of literacy.
By the time you get to university, you are expected to know the fundamentals of grammar, basic mathematics, personal conduct, and study habits. While the actual information you know about a given topic may be minimal, you should at least have the tools necessary to go on and learn more without having to have the basic building blocks of literacy shown to you.
If you have graduated from high school without learning these things, your school system is at fault for graduating you. All high school graduates in a first-world nation should be able to construct a grammatically correct sentence or paragraph. All high school graduates in countries with reasonable education systems should be able to do basic arithmetic without a calculator. All high school graduates in countries with reasonable education systems should be able to locate their country on an unmarked map or globe. They should be able to read comprehensively, to formulate and back up opinions, to use dictionaries and other reference materials, and to effectively self-evaluate on all of these things.
High schools that churn out graduates without these skills are not helping students. They're intellectually crippling them, and setting them up for failure at the university level. If you graduated without these skills, go back to your high school principal or school board and tell them that their educational structure needs to be improved for the benefit of the students.
University or College
Once you are in post-secondary education, it is no longer the teacher's role to supply you with the building blocks of literacy. It is no longer their role to coddle students and cater to the slowest in the class at the expense of those who understand.
The responsibilities of post-secondary educators are:
It is not the professor's job to give you a passing grade when you don't deserve one. It is not their job to grant you exceptions that would be unfair to everyone else. It is not their job to chase after you to come to class, nor to give you special attention if you skip classes and are completely lost later.
Professors who give special leniency to those who do not deserve it are being unfair to students who fulfill their obligations. For example, if a prof declares a make-up test to only those students who failed the first test, or extends a deadline only for those students who didn't make the original deadline, those students who did pass or did hand the assignment in on time are being penalized.
Students have to fulfill their obligations before expecting professors to give them consideration.
The responsibilities of post-secondary students are:
University education is not easy. It is a challenge. It is not handed to you on a silver platter. You must work for it and work hard to earn good grades. If a professor is failing his or her duties, inform them about it politely. If you are met with a negative response, elevate the complaint to the dean of the department. But make sure that you are fulfilling your obligations first!
Remember, the point of a post-secondary education is to learn, not to get good grades. Grades merely reflect whether or not you have learned the material that the university has decided is relevant to your field of study. Just because you don't agree that the material is relevant is not an excuse to be impolite or not bother. Not all areas of study are exciting and fascinating all the time. Sometimes learning the basics is dull. That's the price you pay for being an educated person. It is not the prof's job to entertain or babysit you.
If you give a second-rate effort, you deserve second-rate grades and all that comes with that. Don't blame the prof if you didn't learn the material because you failed to show up to class or to do the reading and assignments. Don't blame the prof if you didn't get your assignment done on time because you left it all to the last minute and disaster hit. Don't expect the prof to make exceptions for you that wouldn't be made for other students.
If you feel that these responsibilities are too tough, don't go to university. You don't belong there. It's for people who want to learn, not people looking to get a meaningless piece of paper that says "I killed time for four years at an educational institution."
Last updated in February 2005.
Copyright © 2000-2005 Kimberly Chapman. All rights reserved.
This original work is available for distribution, provided the following: it is only distributed in this complete form, it contains my name and copyright, it is not altered during distribution without my consent, and it is not used to generate income for anyone without my consent. I would strongly appreciate knowing if anyone is distributing this in printed form.
To find out more about the list or read messages without signing up, please visit the Yahoo! page for the kimberlychapman updates mailing list.
For more information on what these tags mean, please see About KimberlyChapman.com.