Force yourself to run the extra mile

In college, it’s easy to forget the main reason we are here: to learn. We get caught up with extracurriculars, outside activities and our social lives, and along the way, our classes become our last priority.

Last August, two economists from the University of California reported that students in American universities spend a lot less time studying than in past years.

A month ago, another study confirmed this trend. The study, which was conducted by two sociologists from New York University and from University of Virginia, followed 2,300 undergraduates at 24 universities.

The report was published in the sociologists’ book, “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” which found that 45 percent of undergraduates across the nation “demonstrated no significant gains in critical thinking, analytical reasoning and written communications during the first two years of college.”

Moreover, the study found that half of the students surveyed did not take any classes in their previous semester requiring at least 20 pages of writing, and one third of the students followed did not take a class requiring at least 40 pages of reading a week.

With these results in mind, the larger questions are: Are colleges demanding less of students to keep their graduation rates high and students (aka “customers”) happy? How rigorous are college course schedules?

Here at the University of Miami, it is assumed that the university’s primary focus is teaching, so students inevitably learn. But what it really comes down to is a student’s personal preferences, including what the student wants to make of his or her college experience.

Today, many students not only choose easier classes to avoid a heavy workload, but also to simultaneously boost their GPA so it is easier to get into graduate schools. Coasting through your rocks-for-jocks classes can be enjoyable, but what’s the point of taking an easy A class when it is simply a review of what you learned in high school?

Keep in mind there are a variety of courses to choose from on myUM. Why not challenge yourself and take a 300- or 400-level class even though a minimum of a 100-level class is required? With general education requirements, you can easily take classes outside those required for your major.

Make the most of your education here and take advantage of the classes that UM has to offer. You should want to take classes that will benefit your career and future.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

February 16, 2011


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 on Thursdays during the regular academic year.