It’s a familiar sight we’ve all been witnessing since at least middle school. Halfway through a lecture, one of your classroom comrades collapses as if struck by an enemy bullet. Despite slamming his face into the desk rather roughly, nothing is going to wake this guy up from his nap.While Rip Van Winkle launches into his 20-year slumber in the desk next to you, two girls in the back of the classroom carry on a conversation about who holds the title of being the cutest boy in school. After that, they’ll write meaningless notes to their friends in an effort to eat up the remaining time before dismissal. Just when you thought that it couldn’t get any worse, somebody busts out a paper fortune teller.
Like it or not, our generation has turned academic indifference into an art form.
With the immense technological boom that our world has experienced over the last 10 years, slacking off has become a heck of a lot more fun than it used to be. Gone are the days of doodling and playing tiddlywinks with wads of paper and an empty soda can. Today? One can cease to pay attention by text messaging his or her friends or beating hookers with hammers during a rousing game of “Grand Theft Auto” on a PlayStation Portable. How can the presidential election results of 1824 possibly compare to that?
Besides not paying attention in class, today’s college students also have a growing distaste for a well-balanced education. “When am I ever going to have to use this?” and “Why do I have to take this?” are common cries heard at college campuses nationwide.
To those students I ask: Did you choose to attend vocational school, or did you choose to attend college? If you wanted a so-called “no nonsense” education consisting of only major specific courses, you should’ve gone to ITT Technical Institute. There’s a reason it’s called an education and not job training.
We need to appreciate education more in today’s society. Education is the most powerful asset one can have. It’s the groundwork on which all great achievements are made, and it fosters positive change in the world. The great Greek historian Xenophon once said, “If you consider what are called the virtues in mankind, you will find their growth is assisted by education and cultivation.”
Every subject has its purpose. History allows us to chart our future by keeping in mind the success and failures of the past. English teaches us to express ourselves clearly and concisely, as well as delving into the psyches of authors to get greater meaning from their work. Science explains nearly the entire known universe, and math helped us get to the moon.
While nobody is expected to show up to calculus class with a beaming smile, we as a community should make a more concerted effort to appreciate the wonderful opportunities that lie before us. Education, especially at the college level, is not a right but a privilege. So the next time you’re in class, shut off the cell phone, put away your doodles and pay attention. What you learn may help you change the world.
David Hall is a freshman news-editorial journalism major from Kingwood. His column appears every Tuesday and Friday.