What’s our responsibility as students?

By By Dani Kauerz

By Dani Kauerz

I have been doing a lot of thinking about what our responsibility as students is to our university. After a less-than-positive experience with what can happen when a student suggests a change in curricula, I’m wondering if getting a degree is merely about “playing the game” correctly and following all the rules.

Students are obviously in school to learn and get a degree, but while we’re here, where does our responsibility lie in regard to curricula and atmosphere? For example, when two classes are almost exactly alike except for their course numbers, do we try to change things or simply run with the status quo? Are we here to sit down, shut up and jump through whatever hoops necessary to get a degree? Or are we here to call out flaws (in a respectful way, of course) and change things to make our university better for future students and our community as a whole?

I have a hard time picking a side on this topic. I know that there are things around our school that I could at least make an effort to improve, but I also realize that there would be stress and effort that would come with trying to make any sort of change or improvement.

As with any college, institution, company or organization, there are people who have been around much longer than others and feel that they will always know better. I am sure this is true to some point, but when their biases prevent them from seeing any differently, I think someone from a younger generation should step up and help them see more clearly. I often get the vibe from these types that they’re thinking, “I did it, so you have to. There is no reason for change.”

Change is good in most cases. Of course, change cannot always be good, and sometimes change never has the opportunity to happen. What happens when the suggested change is rebuffed? The way I have seen it, the person suggesting the change gets ostracized to some extent.

When it comes to curricula, I wonder what control a student should have besides just picking and choosing classes. Should we have a say, or is this one of the things where we should give complete control to those who have gone before us?

It is especially a problem when a major has absolute requirements. During my junior and senior years I think I had the privilege of choosing all of three classes. Luckily, I feel prepared to go out in the world and start my career, but the lack of choice has not been very enjoyable — especially when I have felt like I have taken more than a few classes twice.

After observing what can happen when someone suggests a change and then thinking about the possibility of just sitting back and doing nothing, I felt let down. I was then reminded of a quote by Maya Angelou: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

My conclusion: I’m going to sit back and ride out my last couple of months and get my degree that I have worked so hard for — with a smile on my face.

[email protected]