[cap]“You can always retake the class but you can never retake the party.”
This quote can be seen in the Facebook, MySpace and AIM profiles of college students across the country. But do some people actually live by this philosophy? Do students regularly forsake class attendance in favor of a Tuesday night toga party or Friday bar crawl? Absolutely. For some MSU students, college isn’t about the education – it’s about the party.
Want proof? Just look around your classes. As the semester begins to die down, so too does the attendance. Fall, arguably the best season at MSU, brings tailgates, hoodies, cider mills and Halloween. But as the leaves change, so do the attitudes of most students. Instead of the excited, organized students we were just a few months ago, we are now controlled by a new feeling: procrastination.
While mid-semester procrastination is normal, some students take this to the extreme. We all know them: the student who talks non-stop during a two-hour lecture or the person who falls asleep during class. Or, my personal favorite, the students that only care about getting a good grade and do not give any concern about what they are actually learning — as if they are paying for the grade instead of the education.
[paper]But to be fair, these students do go to class. At least they are making an attempt. Other students don’t even bother. They will skip class for a beer pong tournament, or sleep all day just so they can go out all night. It’s as though these students need to store up all their energy for partying and are afraid classes will interfere with their social life. I have a friend who is a prime example of this. On the days she does go to class, she constantly complains about being there. Homework and studying take a backseat to her “extracurricular activities.”
For instance, we had a night class together last spring and she never went to a single one, except for the mid-term and final. Some days she would skip for a party, and other times just because she did not “feel like it.” When it came to final exam time, she failed to study and her only remark was that all she was aiming for was a 2.0 because that was her college’s minimum requirement. She was paying about $230 per credit hour for this course, but it didn’t matter to her: as long as she passed the course, she was content.
But in the long run, my friend’s potential employers will not be impressed with her party resume. It’s not the same as high school anymore, where good grades are crucial to advancing in life. They want to see she has learned the material and gained the experiences necessary to succeed in their company. And the partying side of the college experience is not the experience employers are looking for.
So, what’s the cause of this “you can always retake the class but not the party” mentality? While changing seasons and being worn out from the first couple months of classes may contribute, the reason for this mindset runs deeper. It’s because these students are not here for the right reasons.
[money]Many students come to MSU because for them, college is the natural next step after high school — it is what they think they’re supposed to do. They’re here more for the college experience, or what they think the college experience should be, rather than the education. However, college is not for everyone. Just look at some of these students; on the cusp of the fourth or fifth year spent at MSU, they still do not know what they plan to do with their lives. They have spent hundreds of days and thousands of dollars in college so they can graduate and say they have a degree, without any real plan of what they’re going to do with it. Seems like a big waste of time and money, doesn’t it?
For many of these students who are not here for the right reasons, their parents pay for their schooling (and housing, food, utilities, cell phone bill and gas.) Thus, there is no real motivation to do well. They may not value their education and time here at MSU as much as someone who has to pay their own way. They really can afford to say, “You can always retake the class.”
However, I have to admit I am also guilty of procrastination, to some degree, as most of the students here are. But I do not skip class just because I am not in the mood to go, and I do not take my education (and its cost) lightly. I am in another category of procrastinators — I often take the easy way out. Before every semester, I go onto trusty juggernaut allmsu.com and check my professors’ rankings. You better believe if one of my teachers is ranked poorly, I will switch into another class. I want so badly to do well, I will make sure I am taking a class with an easy grader. This may improve my GPA, but it may also hurt me in the long run, as I will not have been as challenged as I should have been.
While I am far from the perfect student, (I prefer to spend Thursday nights watching Grey’s Anatomy and going out than at the library) I do understand the point of college is to get an education and I like to think I am here for the right reasons.
So, while college is not for everyone, and some of the most successful people do not have college degrees, it is important for those of us who are here to value our education. It\’s tempting to blow off that IAH lecture or skip out on a review session because two days before the exam, it\’s probably not going to help anyway. However, in a world where the employment stakes are higher and decent jobs require the education, and not just that degree, students who are breezing by in their time at MSU are in for a rude awakening.

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