Opinion: Too much of students’ time is being wasted in school

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A man could live for a hundred years and still find ways to be frustrated with the concept of time. It is one of the most troubling characteristics of the human condition. There is never enough time — always too little or too much. Time cannot be changed, and it cannot be given back.

Ultimately, we are only given so much time in which we must live our entire lives. It is crucial to make the most of it, and spend as much of it as possible doing what we want to do. Our school system does not allow for that possibility.

From a young age, children are told that they can grow up to be anything they want to be. Parents and teachers hammer these ideals into our heads early so that it resonates with us, and so that we live life with the idea in mind. But during the first 18 years of people’s lives, we are in the classroom. For seven hours a day, five days a week and roughly 288 weeks of our lives, we learn and relearn different versions of the same four classes. We spend so much of our cherished youth looking at the same four walls and listening to the same old teacher talk at us.

The time spent in school is not time wasted, or at least it’s not supposed to be. But in far too many schools, the majority of this time is, in fact, being squandered. Unfortunately, this sad reality is just as applicable to college as it is to high school.  

At the University of Colorado, each student must complete 120 credit hours in order to graduate. However, many of these credits must be completed in areas unrelated to a student’s major. For example, for any Bachelor of Arts degree student must complete at least 43 credits outside their major’s department.

I am a journalism major, and I strive to gain as much practical knowledge in this field as possible before I graduate. Therefore, I feel like I am being held back by having to spend so much of my time at CU learning anything outside the world of journalism. I have no problem waking up early for an 8 a.m. reporting class held across campus in the dead of winter. I do, however, have a problem with doing so for a geography class.

I understand why universities require students to take classes outside of their majors. It is important to explore all that the university has to offer, to figure out where your own interests lie and to exercise your brain in new and challenging ways. I understand all of that, and I believe that students should be encouraged to take different sorts of courses until they figure what they want to focus on.

But once a student selects a major, they should be allowed to concentrate on it. They should not be required to spend so many of their valuable credit hours on random, arbitrary classes. When a certain point hits and your world is opened to all of its unbound potential, wasting time in classes that are of disinterest is straight-up awful.

Furthermore, requiring students to take courses they have virtually no interest in is not good for their GPA. It is not as easy to pay attention in class, or even show up for class, when a student has little incentive to do so. College students have a lot to stress out about, and grades are almost always a salient source of this stress. And when it comes time to apply for a job, a bad GPA due to poor performance in classes a student had no interest in should not be an issue.

When a person finds something that they truly love, something that they feel matters and that they can become good at, they throw themselves fully into it; they become fully immersed. College is an unbelievable opportunity for people to dig into themselves, find what they love and thrive. However, what is required of them in four short years hinders a student’s ability to take advantage of this opportunity.

Nobody likes to waste their time. College students should have more control over how they spend their four years, so that they can learn more about themselves and find where their true passions lie.

Contact CU Independent Opinion Writer Julia Spadaro at julia.spadaro@colorado.edu.

Julia Spadaro

Julia is a Journalism major. She likes to draw, snowboard, listen to music, and hang out with her friends.

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