Dear Professor, give us a heads-up on what we’re signing up for

Contrary to popular belief, us students only have 24 hours in a day (like everybody else)

Photo courtesy of Nikko Macaspac via Unsplash

By: Ana Staskevich, Staff Writer

Many professors have a “tough shit” approach to complaints about course workloads.

If you want to do well in your studies, you have to sacrifice sleep, your social life, showers, and a small chicken. When did this become acceptable?

All those readings, lab reports, worksheets, and weekly quizzes that we have to rush through add up at the end of the week. At first glance, the syllabus doesn’t look like that much, or so we’re led to believe — only five chapters to read and two worksheets to do weekly! But when you factor in that this is the same logic professors use for almost every class, it gets very overwhelming very quickly. Add the fact that many students have to take four or more courses a semester to remain in their program or to maintain scholarships, and things like “self-care” and “mental health days” quickly get the chop.

It would be wonderful to be able to plan ahead during the course selection process, for the particular kind of workload we’ll be facing over the next semester. Instead, students are pretty much going into each semester blind, wondering whether or not they will succumb to the homework monster before finals roll around. We have no way of knowing how to balance the work until we’re already drowning and four weeks behind. This needs to change.

Professors could warn students ahead of time about the type of workload their class requires. I don’t like having to bust my ass every week only to have my professor tell me that the weekly workload for the course is just “the bare minimum.” Yes, I know that during the first week of a semester you can drop a class if the syllabus is wack. However, if you’re banking on that one class (especially if it is required for your major) and everything else is full, well, you’re kinda screwed. You either have to suck it up or completely rework your entire schedule and scramble to find some lighter classes that fit.

If syllabuses — or at the very least working drafts — were published during the course selection process, students would have a warning that the class is a “full-time” commitment ahead of time. That way, if a course looks like it will require seven hours of homework every week, students could make informed decisions in the planning process instead of desperately asking in group chats for an easy “GPA booster.”

With all of that being said, I think it’s time professors became a little more mindful about how full our plates can get. If it is necessary to keep that seven hours of “recommended readings” on the table, then at least give us a heads-up before we start making our commitments.