More than once I’ve heard undergrad referred to as the best four years of one’s life. That liberating feeling a student has leaving his parents’ nest is rivaled by very few events. For the first time, you have the freedom to structure your daily activities in a way that revolves around you.
While all of this newly established independence sends waves of excitement down to your fingertips, there are some not-so-great aspects of college students deal with on a daily basis. Here are a few shared gripes I can recall from my years as an undergrad.
1). Grade Curves
My qualm with curving final grades to meet a predetermined average GPA is this: students who perform better than average run the risk of having their grades lowered to accommodate the curve. One academic school at a university strived to maintain a 3.0 average amongst its students. This meant if the average GPA was 2.8, some students would have their grades raised until the average was a 3.0. Sounds great, right? The flipside, however, was awful.
If the average GPA was 3.2, some students on the +/- cusp saw their grades lowered to meet the 3.0. Instead of adjusting the curve (or not doing it for that semester), students were penalized. Now you can see why this was gripe numero uno.
2). Fire Alarms at 4am
There comes a time in every undergrads life when they must trek outside at ungodly hours of the morning in the midst of winter all because some freshman had the hilariously authentic idea to pull a fire alarm. Not only is it illegal, but it can get you a world of embarrassment. I’ve personally witnessed an alarm-puller chased and tackled by a well-placed RA. Oh sweet, sweet justice.
3). Non-existent Lunch Breaks
It’s sad when Andy Sachs’ 15-minute lunch break is considered a luxury but that’s what many students are faced with. Nearly 80% of undergraduates work while enrolled in school, with the average spending about 30 hours per week at part-time or full-time employment. In order to sustain a stable work schedule classes are often blocked together over only a couple of days during the week.
Only being able to leave 10 – 15 minutes between four classes a day leaves very no time to recharge midday, often resulting in key meals being skipped. If your professors enforce strict no-eating in class policies like mine did, you have no choice but to limit yourself to 1 – 2 meals per day, with the possibility of a snack as you’re rushing to your next class. Our eating habits are often the product of our environment, not that we’re simply unhealthy.
4). Rude Launderers
Look, laundry is a time-consuming chore that we all dread doing but want done immediately. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all mutually agree that it’s awful and bond over the hate for it? That’s never the case… Instead you have people who comfortably hide behind the veil of anonymity, prematurely removing clothes from the washers, stopping drying cycles, or placing others’ clean clothes on the floor. Just watch it or you may have to thaw your clothes out like this unfortunate person.
5). Still Being Viewed as a “Kid”
I’m not sure when the transition from child to adult is complete, but many of us take on “adult responsibilities,” make “grown-up decisions,” and have formulated “mature opinions” on life topics. Now, in my mind, that would label the bulk of college students as adults. But, for some reason adults were slow to catch onto this.
I noticed this frequently happened with professors who often opened the floor up for debate. Each time their opinion was challenged they consistently fell back on the years of exposure they’ve had to the topic. While that’s great, the amount of idea exchange that occurs in the 21st century is significantly greater than it was 10, 20, or 50 years ago, making the numbers game more irrelevant. Let’s hope the “adults” catch wind of that pronto.
What’s your number one gripe about college life? Be sure to tell us in the comments.