Here’s the deal: I’m an adult. As much as it might not feel like it, especially on a day-to-day basis, I am a full-time employee with a degree, a husband, and a car payment. I might be a millennial version—one who surfs social media, takes an occasional selfie, and is a little too attached to my phone—but one nonetheless.
But there are times when I think back, maybe to simpler times, when I was less of an adult and more of an impressionable student. Though I still worked, and worked hard, my main goal was to get that degree. My life had a large focus on learning, growing, and understanding my place and function in the world, as best as I could.
Sometimes I wish I was back there. It’s hard not to, for many reasons. Then, I didn’t have student loans. I was the head hauncho at a dream job, I thrived in my classes, and I got to interact with many of my favorite people on a daily basis. I wouldn’t give up how my life is now, but every once in a while I find myself day dreaming about Tuesday production nights and my favorite spots on Auraria Campus.
School was one of my favorite things. Learning still is. The classroom, however, is not someplace I want to totally glorify. It could sometimes be an annoying place.
People chewed food loudly, wouldn’t pay attention, went off on tangents, were disrespectful, or cleaned up their stuff five minutes early. The worst, though, was when people would brag. They would brag, of all things, of how hard they weren’t working.
Academic laziness is not a feat
Originally posted in the March 2017 edition of the CU Sentry.
Bragging has always had its place in the classroom, despite how unfortunate and unbecoming it is. From students fighting one-upping wars on busyness and stress to professors smearing the accomplishments of their youth, there’s nothing quite as tiring as hearing stories of glorified slacking off. Academic laziness has become a feat of achievement, though it’s nothing short of petty.
It’s commonplace to be waiting for a class to begin, and come across a conversation where two students compare their triumphs of collegiate-level laziness, as if they are deserving of a NCAA award. “I haven’t done a single reading,” quips one student. “To be honest, I decided to not even buy the book,” the other replies. They chuckle in agreement and commend their levels of apathy.
Here’s the thing: college is a place where academic negligence is problematic, and trying hard is actually cool. No one wins in these hard-fought battles of who-worked-less and who-can-bullshit-more.
The obvious repercussion of not doing the work is internal stunting. When a person lacks the initiative to enroll in classes with the intent of working hard, they deny themselves an opportunity to be better. They miss out on becoming smarter, more well-rounded, better-researched, competent human beings. They waste their own time and money, and have the audacity to boast about it. If ignorance truly is bliss, these students are floating on clouds of contentment and happiness, blinded by the delights of mediocrity.
Students pay large amounts of money each semester to go to class and push themselves to learn and grow. A lot of this development happens in dynamic ways—through discussions, participation, and peer-oriented feedback. When other students can’t be bothered to do the assigned reading or listen to the lecture, they’re not just screwing themselves; they are cheating others of interaction-fed growth.
Though academic laziness is poisonous to both the perpetrating student and their peers, it is suggestive of an overarching problem. In the education world, specifically in primary stages, beating the system is often more important than learning. Standardized testing and hefty loads of homework or busywork have reinforced this trend: high school students especially learn to cope with these stresses by trying to get things done rather than try to internalize the information. They look for easier alternatives to balance their workloads and aim for completion over quality, so that they can pass—which has become synonymous with success.
Often, these habits are not dropped when students move on to higher education. Unlike high school and below, where students are more or less forced into attending, college is not mandatory. It is meant to be a place for students to come and prepare themselves for the real world, via knowledge intake of their own accord. Slipping through the cracks with techniques of dormancy does not belong in such an environment, and it really shouldn’t be encouraged at any level of learning.
Those who brag about their outstanding laziness deserve better. They deserve to treat themselves to the wealth of opportunities awaiting any hardworking student: a firm grip on hard work, potential, work ethic, and an understanding that, believe it or not, working hard really is remarkable.
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