Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Student's Lament

I'm taking a short break tonight to share with you a minor rant about school life. Bear with me.
I will be the first to admit that I am not a particularly organized person. I keep a cluttered desk, things around my house are rarely where I should keep them, sometimes I lose track of a bill date (thank goodness for auto bill pay to help me out with that one!).  

But, when it comes to my school work, I really make an effort to keep on top of things.  Separate notebooks for each class with the syllabus right in front, detailed notes from lectures, color-coded case briefs.  And, most important, I try to organize my time so that I know which class/assignment I need to be working on at any given time.  Now, I will not go so far as to say that I never put off doing homework so that I can do something a little more fun, but I will say that when I do that, it's carefully calculated time, and I always know how much I'm going to have to buckle down later to stay on task. 

So it was this holiday weekend that I not only had quite a few assignments to get through, but also quite a few fun things to do, so I had it all balanced out.  A chapter on lunch here, a late night there, squeeze in a quiz before the concert and a test on Sunday, etc.  Well-oiled clockwork.  And last night, knowing I was down to just a bit more work, I even took an extra break to--gasp!--watch TV.  I don't get to do that nearly enough these days, and you know that's a real sacrifice for me!

Now, the truth is, I shouldn't have watched those three episodes of cop shows off my DVR; they would've been just fine sitting there for another few weeks until the semester is over.  But that's not the point.  The point is, it was a holiday weekend, and I wanted to do lots of fun stuff, dammit.  So, in addition to hanging out on the 4th and a movie on the 5th and a concert on the 6th, I watched some television on the 7th.  I knew I'd have to work a little bit harder on the 8th, but it was worth it.  

Then, right before I went to bed last night--just after midnight, mind you--an email came through from one of my professors.  The same one who gave us a five page take-home exam and four chapters to read over the weekend.  Yeah, that one.  Well, it seems she's decided she'd also like us to read and brief two more cases.  At midnight!  Sunday!  Seriously, I should've stayed up a while last night and done some of it, because I knew that I wasn't going to have time to get it all done today.  And, of course, I'm sitting here now at 12:30, still not quite done with it all.  

So, my rant is the same one that students have been ranting since time began:  teachers need to remember that their class is not the only thing going on in their students' lives.  We have to plan and juggle to make sure things get done.  And, sure, forty hours notice might seem like a lot of lead time, but not when ten of it needs to be devoted to sleep, 16 to work, four to a commute, about three to getting dressed for work, and at least another two or so to meal preparation and eating.  Oh, and four or five had already been allotted to finishing up the assignments that I knew about. By my calculations,  I simply don't have time for two more cases.  And, you notice, there was no blog time accounted for in there, so this twenty minutes is coming out of the sleep cycle.  ;-)

Anyway, that's what's annoying me tonight: instructors who mess up my precariously balanced schedule, and make me regret that I took a couple of hours to watch some TNT drama.  Thanks for listening.  /rant.

Got anything making you cranky these days?