College Is A Time To Man Up or Shut Up

Katie Fikes

I cannot even begin to count the times I hear classmates complaining about school. This class or that professor seems to be the favorite topic.

“That professor grades too hard.”

“That class is too boring.”

“This professor has favorites… and I definitely am not one of them!”

And the worst of them all: “Why do I have to take this class when it has nothing to do with my major?”

Well, you know what? We are grown-ups! Get over it!

These four questions are just a few that I hate to hear, and here’s why:

First, growing up did you ever hear that college was easy and that the professors graded with gold stars? No. The answer is no.

I always grew up thinking that professors were Albert Einstein incarnated. They were all geniuses and knew everything. They also wanted everyone to fail so they graded like they were Army recruiters. While many are really, really smart, they don’t know everything. Although they don’t want students to fail, they do often grade like recruiters, but that’s because they want their students to succeed.

Without fire, though, would anything be refined? If we weren’t being pushed to do better on the next paper would our skills sharpen or would our work ethic mold stronger? Get over this fact and simply embrace the challenge as your responsibility to yourself.

The second statement that irks me falls back on society — being bored.

My mom always said only boring people get bored. If we said that word my mom always found ways to “entertain” us — our windows were always really clean!

Society says that you need games on your smart phone to keep your mind young, but whatever happened to good ole fashioned crossword puzzles or reading a book? Education does not need the element of entertainment to keep students out of bottomless and soul wrenching boredom.

Let me rephrase that: our society needs to redefine what it sees as entertainment.

Webster defines entertainment as “something diverting or engaging.”

Keeping up with the Kardashians does not have to be what we resort to for engaging our brains. Learning is highly engaging and even thrilling. It can divert you from your own reality and cause you to lose yourself in other cultures, other philosophies, and even other worlds.

So, if you come to college and you’re still getting bored, I urge you to challenge yourself to learn something new in every class during every class period.

Warning: you might have fun!

Caution: you might call class entertainment, so tread lightly.

Thirdly, complaints about your professor having a teacher’s pet are quite silly for a college student to be voicing. Yes, I don’t get along with everyone in this huge world and yes, I don’t get along with everyone at USAO, but that’s to be expected.

Personalities clash.  Thoughts differ.  People vary.  This is a simply fact of life.  However, I try to act as professional as I can when I am in those situations.

According to the law, the vast majority of us are adults. Let’s start acting like we are, hike up our pants and wade out of the dirty water.

I’m not saying that our professors aren’t going to have favorites or that the numerical odds are that that pet won’t be you.  Simply look past that fact and don’t let your feelings get hurt so easily.  Life isn’t fair. Life is cliché at times, but life isn’t fair.

Now, I’ve reached the fourth and final statement/question articulated from the Amen Pew.  My favorite one.  I love getting on soap boxes — obviously from what has been said thus far — and here laid out before me like a pitch waiting to be sent over center field is one I can go on about for hours. For the sake of our preaching hour, though, I’ll let you out by noon so your dinner won’t get cold.

I cringe, literally cringe, every time I hear someone complain about the IDS classes we are required to take.  Sometimes it takes all I have not to karate chop that person in the jugular. I know that would never help get my point across, so I simply try to show and explain to people how ignorant that really statement is.

Yes, college is expensive and we are all trying to get out with as little debt as possible. However, we are in college. College! It is the romantic idea designed from the picture Hollywood so nicely paints for us that can create this problem. As kids we fantasize about move in day at the dorms. We dream about ditching school to go to the beach or the pizza parlor with our closest friends. We fantasize about being that 22 year old college student who walks across the stage having to say goodbye to the best four years of our lives.

Then we get to school.  Everything is different than what Hollywood has built up for us and our fantasies are crushed. We actually have to go to class if we want to pass.  But guys! Listen! That’s the greatest part of college! And at USAO we are offered the best education in Oklahoma.

In every class period of every class there is a nugget of information or an epic idea that can and should be applied to our lives. These classes are designed in such a way that any student from any background can actively take charge of their education and learn as much as they can, depending on the effort they put forth.  Classes don’t waste time. People waste time.

Besides, how could we ever see how Dr. Rees and Dr. Simpson feed off each other if we weren’t forced to take World Thought?  How could we ever truly witness Dr. Bruce’s wit and humor if the writing classes weren’t mandatory? How could we ever see how a history class is team taught by two teachers in completely different fields?

So, saying IDS courses are a waste of time and money is basically blasphemy against what USAO stands for and its goal to better the students who pass within the walls.

Also, by complaining about the classes, it makes you seem ignorant and stuck in a high school mindset. First, it shows that you are ignorant because you were “veggin” out in the class, not paying attention. If you were alert and actively paying attention in class, you would see why these classes are required. If you’re “veggin” out, you’re not learning. Therefore, you are ignorant in that class.

Secondly, if you didn’t want to learn, you are returning to the rebellious teenage mentality of high school when it was cool not to learn because it was cool to be mischievous during the teachers’ lectures. Hollywood paints a romantic picture of those years well, but that honestly is a whole ‘nother soapbox.

Long story short: if you didn’t want to take classes outside your comfort zone, you should have stayed in high school.

Man, I’m out of breath!

As college students now, it is time for us to grow up and be professional in every situation we are faced with.  If manning up isn’t your style, however, as least shut up. Others don’t need your negativity to act as a hurdle our brains have to jump over on their journey around the track.

I plan to be that 22 year old who is forced to say goodbye to the best four years of my life. Those years won’t be great because of all the complaining I did. They will be great because of all the learning I did.

So, it’s up to you. Man up or shut up!