College Needs a Denouement

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Some changes are gradual, like aging, or the shift from spring to summer. Others are more abrupt, even brutally so – like losing your virginity, or the end of the college semester.

In the case of virginity, there’s not much to be done. Book reading and fooling around can only get you partially ready – at a certain point, you have to dive in and do it. College, on the other hand, could be improved.

Specifically, there needs to be one more week of school. Or more accurately, the schedule needs to be bounced around by a week.

See, the thing is, exams and projects are most valuable when you get feedback on them, when you can see what you did right, see what you did wrong, and learn from it. Problem is, every semester ends with a finals week – and after that final exam, you never see that class again.

Sure, I realize most students would ditch for that post-exam week, if it existed. But that’s where some kind of class participation points come into the mix. Anyone with a borderline grade will make damn sure to show up and get the points. Anyone who has a solid grade can consider that week off to be their reward for a job well done. It’d be like a built-in cut week.

I’m sure most professors would protest that they’re already trying to cram knowledge into their students’ heads over too brief a period, and they’re probably right. Still, I don’t see how a week less instruction would really cripple their lesson plans all that much. And a wrap-up week, a sort of “postmortem” for the semester, could prove invaluable.

Getting your education is fun, but it’s the kind of fun you look forward to finishing, sort of like losing your virginity – you rush through the whole thing, hoping desperately not to fail, and then it’s just suddenly over, usually much sooner than you expected.

Haven’t you ever gotten a final exam grade that puzzled you? Good or bad? Sure, in theory, you can go hunt your professor down in his office and find out what happened, but I’ve never done so. Once the semester is over, I’m done with school. I practically fly off campus, like I’ve been shot out of a cannon. I suspect almost everyone else feels the same way.

Getting your education is fun, but it’s the kind of fun you look forward to finishing, sort of like losing your virginity – you rush through the whole thing, hoping desperately not to fail, and then it’s just suddenly over, usually much sooner than you expected.

What academia needs is to throw in some pillow talk after. Time to relax, light a cigarette, and sort through things. Maybe towel off some. Promise to text each other later.

As it stands, after the moment of your academic climax, everything’s over. You turn in your final project or the Scantron for your final exam, go grab a drink, and wait for your grades to update on Moodle (or whatever online equivalent your particular college uses).

Where’s the wind-down? Where’s the brief talk about what the hell just happened? Sure, I’m like everyone else – I’m a big fan of the climax. But I enjoy a little snuggle time, too. Rolling over and falling asleep is lame. Universities need to make us a sandwich, invite us to stay for breakfast, something. At the very least, give us a few minutes to throw on our clothes and freshen up in the bathroom.

Every semester is a challenge. My bet is that a week spent looking back wouldn’t just feel good, it’d be instructive for all involved.

So, who’s with me? Anyone else want a little retrospection to close out the semester? Or are the rest of you more the “wham, bam, thank you, ma’am” types? Surely I’m not the only one.RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop

About Jared Kendall

Jared Kendall
A freelance data journalist and father of two, Jared Kendall has been using comedy as a coping mechanism his entire life. Born a Yankee, Jared's twenty-year stint in Baton Rouge still leaves him with one question: "Why'd I move here, again?"

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