Opinion

THE BEN IS MIGHTIER

Four years later, here we are.

After 40 or so columns, I was hoping that for the final installment, I could do that whole “self-serving tribute to the people who helped shape me” thing. I could tell you about how fantastic professors like Ileana Oroza (to whom I owe endless gratitude for landing me at The Miami Herald), Sam Roberts and Sanjeev Chatterjee are, or how worthwhile being a resident advisor at Hecht and serving on the Honor Council were. I could tell you about my experiences at The Hurricane, and how the future looks so bright for writers like Scott Wacholtz, Marcus Washington, Shawn Wines, Paul Campbell and, yes, Jovanni Bello.

I could tell you about how Simon Evnine taught me that there’s more to a professor than the classes he teaches, how Jeremy Morris knows the PROPER way to challenge his students, and why I think Keith Fletcher should be in charge of this university one day. I’d tell you about how I fell in love here (those days have passed, but I wouldn’t change a thing), met the bright minds of the future and made friendships that will last a lifetime. I could tell you about my desire to remain in journalism professionally, if only for how much I enjoy writing columns-something I have done sparingly since being named opinion editor for this semester.

But this would be a bit presumptuous; I still need to graduate, and, not surprisingly, my love for writing opinion columns has difficulty crossing over to the term paper format. Instead, I will use this last opportunity to talk about attendance policies, and how I was misled into thinking UM would treat us like adults.

My first really college-y class was POL 211 with Amy Cordova. I say “college-y” because I had never taken a three-hour class before, had never taken a class at 6 p.m. and had never been in a class where the teacher trusted us to learn outside the class. Our first day in class, she told us, matter-of-factly, that she would not be taking attendance, that all the test questions are in the book and that she’s not here to baby her class around; we’re all adults here. Verdict: attendance not mandatory.

Do I say this as a slacker? Well, yes-partially. But I say this also as a warning to each professor who treats his or her class as if it is the only one students take: Andy Barton, Mirta Ojito, Carrie Comer, etc. This is a dangerous viewpoint to have: Where is their empathy as former students, and where is their understanding that some learning MUST go on beyond classroom doors?

I’m not knocking learning in the classroom; I’m just saying that at a point in college, many of us are knee deep in jobs, internships and other commitments that professors simply fail to (or choose not to) acknowledge. With this in mind, as I slave away on Risto Hilpinen’s PHI 560 History of Logic term paper, knowing that I am one of a few undergrads in the class, that the majority of my peers teach an introductory philosophy class that I took three years ago, that Hilpinen gave me an F on my first exam and everyone else a B or above, and that his reasoning, after giving me a C on my re-take was that I “must have missed too many classes” (he doesn’t keep attendance, and I am one of five or six students who regularly attends), I raise the following two points:

1) I have missed two sessions of PHI 560-to work, and

2) Give me a damn break. Do you really think I’m trying to NOT graduate?

Hate to cut this short. I gottta wrap up these papers. I’ll miss this job. But four years later, here we are.

Ben Minkus is a senior majoring in writing History of Logic term papers. He can be contacted at b.minkus@umiami.edu.

April 28, 2006

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.