Discourse / Editorials / November 3, 2010

Thoughts from the Embers: Too much stress

Since January, there has been a proposal up for discussion amongst the faculty at Knox about reducing the number of credits required for students to graduate from 36 to 34. This proposal, Professor of psychology Tim Kasser, was created with the goal of creating a less stressful life for students and professors at Knox.

We here at the newspaper don’t think that reducing the course load, especially by just two credits, is going to do anyone any good.

What is the reduction of two courses going to do to reduce stress over four years? Especially when classes are not the only source of stress for students at Knox. For most of us, class is never the only thing on our daily schedule. Whether we are a part of jazz band, Students Against Sexism in Society (SASS), the newspaper, an athletic team or one of the other hundred clubs on this campus, there is usually a sense, amongst Knox students, to strive to do more. Most people are involved in more than one extracurricular anyway, and it is probably these commitments that make people as stressed, if not more so, than classes. After all, being a part of (or starting) a club here takes a lot of ideas, a lot of effort and a lot of planning.

Part of Kasser’s proposal states that, in this new plan, students could take, instead of a year of 3-3-3 (three credits each term for three terms) could take 3-3-2.5.

Basically, while we don’t agree with Kasser’s proposal, we do agree with an aspect of it: there should be more options when it comes to the classes we can take and how many we can take at one time.

In fact, a lot of students feel outraged when they learn that it costs over $1,000 to take an extra credit in one term. We should be able to take another class if we want (no matter how masochistic that might seem).

One thing many schools already do is count the lab component of science classes for a half credit or full credit. Especially with labs that take hours a week outside of the time spent in the actual class, students should at least earn a half credit for that work.

For some majors, their academic course is so tightly charted based on what they want their degree in (or which two things they want their degree in) that they hardly ever have time to take other classes. For example, if someone double majors in Education and English, that doesn’t give them much time to experience a class at Knox that they might love. It shouldn’t cost them over $1,000 to get that experience.

There should be more half-credit courses offered, so that if students want to take four courses without paying a ridiculous fee, they have more options. Then, because of that, they would later have the option of taking an easier term of 2.5 credits, while still having 36 credits in their overall college career.

And let’s be honest and think about reality for a moment here: having a Knox degree makes us marketable. Why reduce the amount of credits we would have to give other students, from other liberal arts schools or state schools, a better chance at getting the jobs we will eventually compete with them for? At Knox, it’s our way to excel in classes while creating jobs for ourselves outside of the classroom.

We also question why this proposal hasn’t officially been put before any students to gather student opinions. It will affect the classes that we take, so why are we not being asked, as an entire student body, not just the newspaper staff, what we think? The bottom line is, we are an incredibly driven student body, and we are always going to work ourselves very hard. Why not leave it toput it on the students to manage their own schedules, to regulate their own stress levels and to know how hard to push themselves? That will be the skill we will truly need in the real world.

TKS Staff

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