i know that i would never want to ACTUALLY change anything in my life because it’s the life i’ve lived that has gotten me to where i am today, but there are definitely things that i wish were different and had happened differently, specifically in my education.
i attend minnesota state university moorhead. it’s a pretty good school with good faculty and the whole nine yards. it’s been a good place to go to school for six years (minus the business office, but i promise, i won’t go there). however, there are things about attending msu that simply have to be accepted.
1) it does NOT have the clout in the area that concordia (the private school across the cemetery) has. PRETTY much if you walk into an interview with that concordia ring on your finger, you’ve got a one-up on LOTS of people. they take you a little more seriously and chances are much better for you to get a job.
2) i don’t think that msu pushes their students like concordia does. i had a couple concordia friends who i never saw because they were ALWAYS studying. part of me now wishes that i had been pushed like that in my education. that i had to work really hard for my education and for my grades. that i actually would LEARN a lot.
3) msu students do not take the pride in their school as much as either of the other two college/universities in the area. i mean, there’s a little bit of it because you’re kinda taught to hate the other schools, but it’s not the kind of pride that inspires buying rings or having a wardrobe comprised of all ndsu bison apparel.
a few things have precipitated this vein of thought in me.
first, in band right now, we have student conductors. and they (for the most part) are terrible. don’t get me wrong, i understand that they are nervous and that they don’t really know what they are doing. i get that. however, i don’t believe that most of them are working very hard TO know what they are doing. we give them feedback after EVERY time they conduct and things don’t change. they don’t improve. some even give excuses as to why they are terrible, which, quite frankly we don’t care about. we don’t care WHY you’re doing what you’re doing, but we don’t like it and it’s bad conducting and therefore, we sound bad. it is really amazing how much the conductor influences the sound of the ensemble they are conducting. these students are terrified up there, understandably, but we SENSE it, we SEE it and therefore, we PLAY like it. i’ve said it to EVERY conductor: you have to practice, find a recording, get what it’s supposed to sound like in your head so that when you come to class, you KNOW what we’re supposed to sound like and you can fix it when we DON’T sound like it. there are SO many times when we, as the band, completely trainwreck and they’re just waving away. it’s like… NOBODY knows where you are, half the band is on one beat and half is one another beat (of the ones that are still playing). it would just be nice if all the students were putting in the time to do what they need to do.
of course, most of these students have at least one job, which i KNOW interferes with school. sometimes i wish life was the old days where people who were in school KNEW that school was their main job and anything else was secondary for that period of time. i once had three jobs while trying to go to school. i know that something has to give and it certainly isn’t going to be the almighty dollar! i can’t express ENOUGH how thankful i am that i DON’T have to work (marrying rich works!!) and that i can focus on school as much as i need to to do the absolute best work that i can. it’s not about the grade for me, it truly is about the quality of my work. naturally, if my work is of high quality, a high grade will follow. i want to be a student who is known for working really hard and consistently turning in high quality work. i want my professors to realize that it’s more important to me to actually learn the material and to present high quality material than to get an A.
one of my professors, who’s 60ish, was talking to my clinical psych class about our inability to get an A on any test thus far. i found it really interesting that most people blamed it on the book. i think that it’s a combination of factors. 1) yes, the book is VERY dense, there is no color, no pictures, not like pretty much any other text we’ve ever had. also, it’s about 6 years old, so it’s getting a little dated. 2) we obviously are NOT putting the time in to study as much as we need to. i studied SO much harder for this latest test (which hopefully we get the results back today) than i did for either of the two previous tests. i studied for this test the way i’ve studied for the past year and a half. my method of studying really works for me and i hope that it pays off this time. i know i haven’t been working as hard as i should have been. 3) i think that overall, we have a pretty unmotivated class. i don’t know many of the students well, but simply by observing their classroom behavior, i can see that some people just don’t care and so they don’t try.
as a result of our in-class discussion, the professor decided that he will get a new book for the next class. i thought it was really cool that he had that discussion with us, but sometimes i think it’s really hard for him to relate to our generation. the generation of everything being about us and directed and geared toward us and facebook and social media in general. i think he’s finally so far removed from the generation that i’m not entirely sure that he can continue in education much longer. of course, he’s planning on retiring soon. i think it’s good. don’t get me wrong, i think he’s a great professor. he is the epitome of the arrogant professor who works people to death and doesn’t REALLY care a whole lot about his students. there are those he does and they become his research assistants and then he gets to interact with them on his own terms and everything. he’s just a really arrogant guy, but i like him as a professor. he doesn’t baby us. he’s one that i probably would have enjoyed working with on research because i’m at that point in my student life where i want to be pushed and he PUSHES. a classmate of mine does research and she’s complained pretty much all year about it because he works her really hard. he’s a firm believer in working really hard and making school our #1 priority.
i wish professors were more like that. i like our psych department, but not all of them push that hard. of course, they’re fighting against a time where school isn’t as important as work or friends or partying and if there are too many low grades in the department, things can go awry.
sometimes i wish that our society would get our priorities straight. i wish that we would see things that are truly important as important and recognize that which isn’t very important and treat it accordingly. then again, if it was like that, i wouldn’t be in america.