Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What, Me Advise?

I got a note from a student a few days ago entitled "Thinking about dropping - advice?"

He's a good student, and he's doing fine in the class, but I can see that he's a stressball. He transfered into USU from a community college, and I think he may be still a bit overwhelmed about what he's being required to do in classes here. Added to that, my class is a monster timesink. There's a big classtime commitment and the expectation is that people really need to put in at least an hour at home for every hour in class (aren't all classes supposed to be like that? 20 credit hours = full time student, right?).

So anyway, I asked if he wanted to meet up and talk about what was going on. He said he was really trying to keep a 4.0 is his core classes and my class was eating too much into his other study time. The class is also just hard. It's really not intuitive to most folks, and although it does get easier with time, we increase the speed as we move along.

It's all understandable. Major classes are obviously more important to graduation that mine. He's taking this class because it may help his grad application look better (which it may), but mainly because he really likes the subject. We talked for a long while, and I aimed him toward a few folks that might advise him from a less biased point of view.

I was able to get him to stay in the class. I hope I did right by him, because he's doing fine in the class (and not taking it for a grade), but it's always going to be a timesink.

Long and rambling post, but I'm trying to post a bit more about what's going on in my world, so there ya go.


lkhoyt said...

(reader for a couple months, but first time commenting, I think.) I get this kind of question, and these kinds of comments, all the time from my students. My syllabus actually says *2* hours outside of class for every hour in, and I make it clear that I start being sympathetic at 6 hours/week of studying for my class. I'm grading an exam today that has several problems taken verbatim from the assigned homework, and vast swathes of students can't do them (and have been conspicuously absent from my office hours.)

I'm going to be cleft with broadswords on my semester evals but if students who think they're premed won't even do the assigned homework, and learn the vocabulary words that are on the "working definitions" handout for each chapter well enough to apply them, how is this my fault?

I simply have no sympathy with people who can tell me with a straight face that they have no time to study. If they don't have time to study, they don't have time to be in school.

lkhoyt said...

I also frequently get students telling me that my class is the hardest class they've ever taken. I just agree with them that it probably is.

Overread said...

Yeah, I think this guy was legitimately pushing himself beyond what's healthy, but I do take a perverse pleasure in hearing that students are working so hard for this class :)