Upon request of a stranger filling out a street survey on Main Street, I informed him that being a student was my occupation. Much to my dismay and disbelief he quickly shot back with, “Yeah, and what else?”
“What else?” I thought to myself as I finished the walk home. How can there be a “what else?”
At Keene State College, students are typically enrolled in four four-credit classes with the occasional five or three classes scattered amongst them. That means you are spending an average almost four hours in that one class per week. Not to forget, you have between two and four other classes in which you are responsible for attending that week as well.
I have been advised by four of my professors throughout my time at Keene State College that for each credit you take, you should being doing one hour of homework. At KSC most classes are four credit courses, which correlates to four hours of homework each week, so lets do some math.
For example, this semester I am taking 16 credits. That means I am spending almost 16 hours in class per week. On top of class time, I am averaging about 16 hours of homework per week as well, given some weeks are more than others and vise versa. So doesn’t that come out to almost a 40-hour week?
It’s hard for individuals who have been out of college for some time or individuals who have not gone to college to understand just how demanding is this four-year period. It is also typically the time where individuals begin experiencing their first sense of independence, which doesn’t always make it easy to do your work when you don’t have a parent telling you to.
On top of taking three to five classes each semester, the point has to be conveyed that these courses don’t always relate. The ISP courses that Keene State College requires don’t always go hand-in-hand with the desired major. Therefore, students are given the challenge to broaden their horizons and expand on other interests.
Doing homework for classes that relate to one another is a great way to feed off the separate classes and further your understanding. However, when classes do not relate to one another you have to learn how to change your thinking process over to a subject that doesn’t directly relate to your particular major. This is also a struggle students have to learn to cope with during their college careers.
Not only does college teach you the skills you will need to further yourself in the major of your choice, but how to work with material that is unfamiliar to you.
So to answer that survey man’s question: I’m doing a lot of other things. Not only am I am gaining knowledge in my major, but I am learning how to cope with alternative subjects and incorporate them into my major, I am learning what work methods are best for me, I am learning how to become self-sufficient and at the same time learning to work with classmates as a unit. All of these are skills you cannot gather in any other institution or workspace.
Alexandra Wessel can be contacted at email@example.com