Commentary: Class doesn’t define college experience

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    TCU football: not just a sport, a tradition. Weekends are often planned around tailgating, watching the game and taunting the opposing team. Not only is this a chance for students to socialize and make friends, it’s a chance to show school spirit and support the team. After all, we are reminded through the campuswide e-mails and mass voice mail messages left on dorm phones about how important it is to “support the team and pack out the stadium.” It then seems conflicting that Provost Nowell Donovan sent an e-mail to faculty members stating that classes are not to be canceled for the game.Classes should be canceled for tonight’s game against BYU, and students should be allowed to attend without consequence. If classes can be canceled for convocation, which many students have never attended, they should be canceled for an event that not only draws a large, unified student assembly, but one that helps produce money for the university.

    Student support at the football games is vital to the success of the team and to TCU’s revenue. Associate Athletic Director Scott Kull said the football team generates about $2 million a year. As we saw at the Texas Tech game, the potential for big bucks from ticket and concession sales and parking is an easy reality with the media coverage and participation at big games. Tonight’s game is a nationally televised game, which has been scheduled for several months.

    But with the game on Thursday night, where do commuter students park for classes? TCU Police Lt. Ramiro Abad said the school dictates the rules, and he is only here to enforce them. And rest assured, his crew will do just that.

    After buying $75 parking passes, students have been inconvenienced all semester long with strict parking regulations. Now, not only are parking spots being taken away, but Abad said towing will be strictly enforced. So, after driving around campus for 30 minutes trying to find a parking spot, students are expected to focus on thermodynamics in physics class. That may be a little hard for students but, Donovan said, “Students have a choice to make; it is part of learning responsible citizenship.”

    But what exactly defines a responsible citizen? Is it attending each class, studying hard and making A’s, or is it making an effort in classes and being involved in extracurricular activities and campus events? Life has a funny way of passing you by when all you focus on is your GPA and class attendance. Don’t get me wrong. Of course your GPA is important and, yes, college is the time when you finally make decisions without your parents guiding – or forcing – your every move. But being a well-rounded individual also includes making memories away from the books and taking risks.

    So, for all of you “responsible citizens,” I’d advise you to enjoy your collegiate years and cheer on the Frogs during their undefeated streak.

    In the end, it’s about the college experience as a whole. I suspect most professors could look back on their college years and realize their most relevant memories were outside of the classroom.