Now that I’m back from break and already a whole 2 days into the 2nd half of the semester, I feel as if it’d be appropriate to give another account of how things are unfolding by once again juxtaposing my experiences here at PCC against that of Mt. SAC. If I’m arguing for one side too much over the other, well, seeing as this is a personal blog, then I’d venture to say that the disparaged party had better step things up. But again, with respect to the whole “personal blog” issue, my opinions on this matter don’t.. matter, so let’s get on with it shall we?
For one thing, the first 2 days back have been more than chill. For my 3 hr physiology class, we worked on a lab experiment and after we had completed the data collection, we were free to go. So I had spent an hour of the three hour block in class. Cool, I guess. And for today’s 1.5 hr speech class, she had prepared not even 40 minutes of material, none of which was new information; it was as if we were starting the semester anew, as she decided to preview the remaining 8 weeks and about how dismal the grades were and what she would do to fix that. I’ll dig more into that momentarily, but the gist of the manner here is, and I think what my speech instructor had said makes a great quote, that she knew that since it was the first day back from Spring Break, people would be absent/late/not into “it,” so she aimed to make today a pretty easy day.
I guess that’s nice and all, but the more I thought about it, the more infuriated I became. Essentially, what she had implied was that the people who aren’t present in class and who weren’t quite ready to get back to work were more valuable than those of us present, seeing as how we made the same effort she did to wake up and prepare and be seated at the start of class. Her time and our time are budgeted out every x hrs y days a week, but today’s not really that important. *insert Jackie Chan meme image here* The number of classes I’ve had at PCC that didn’t go to their full allotted time has been exponentially greater than the number of classes I’ve had at Mt. SAC. I know, usually, as a student, people are more than happy to be let out earlier than scheduled, but when this becomes a recurring habit for the classes, doesn’t this just become a great waste of time for everybody involved? If the grades were reflective of the ability of students’ performance, then maybe it would be substantiated. But no. As I mentioned about 2 months ago (I can’t believe it’s week 9 of 16 in the semester), the average for our first Physio exam was a D, and our instructor moreorless gave out 10 extra credit points to bump the average up to a C. For speech, today we received our grades back for our midterm, and whaddayaknow, the average for this was again, a low D, to which our instructor is gonna give back 9 points or so to bump the average up to a C. In the general scheme of things, I can’t get too angry at generous curves, seeing as how that’s saved my ass time and time again, but it’s slightly different here, I’d wager. For example, at a four year university, it wouldn’t be too out of the ordinary to have a test every 3 weeks on 4 chapters of material, or more. Community college (I guess mostly PCC, excluding Mt. SAC), it’s been the inverse of that, with a test every 4 weeks on less than 3 chapters of material. And yet, look at the grades. Is this a reflection of the lesser quality of students or on the quality of instruction. If I were betting, I’d put my wager on the former, seeing as how the instructors at this level do every little thing possible to baby the students and try and help them along. It can become pretty nauseating to watch, really. And yet, averages over in my classes at Mt. SAC were pretty standard, and the material covered per Unit on each test was definitely more comprehensive than at PCC. I don’t know what to say.
With that said, it also provides an opportunity for some reflection about myself. At this lower level of education (and I mean that in the least belittling manner as possible; a 2 year/community college is ranked under a 4 year/university), I guess I’ve been able to find success in the classroom, something that has eluded me for the past 4 years. If you take the long analogy presented above and transposed it over a 4 year college, I would be one of the students flailing on the deep end of the pool. I guess I wasn’t up to the task of dealing with the academic rigors presented at the time, or I didn’t have the focus, motivation, drive, whatever intangibles you want to throw in. I get that, hindsight is 20/20, no crying over spilled milk; the list of platitudes can go on and on. And in looking at the reality of my situation, my poor academic results from the past are weighing me in the present, specifically regarding my s’posed attempt to get into PT school. Upon further introspection, obviously the fault lies with myself. As I progressed through my four year degree and got closer to graduating, my goals at the time continued to get more short-sighted, in that all I wanted to do was graduate, and I had set my eyes on the prize and nothing else, something that became a great detriment to me down the road (presently). I’ve neglected to look more long-term, i.e. the general 5 year/10 year plans, an idea that is somewhat overused but still a good general indicator of where you are in life and what you need to do to get where you want to be. When I try and imagine myself 5.. 10 years from now, all I see are faint wisps of a vision with nothing definitively concrete in mind. If this were 5 or 10 years ago, I s’pose this transgression would be slightly more forgivable. But as I mentioned in my last entry, I’m 22.5 going on on 23 soon, so that ish definitely cannot fly. And needs to be addressed forthwith.
So what do Derek? What do?