To The Professor That Doesn't Remember What It Means To Be A Student
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To The Professor That Doesn't Remember What It Means To Be A Student

I'm on my second cup of coffee today and it's not even noon.

To The Professor That Doesn't Remember What It Means To Be A Student

Dear Professor,

It’s the third week of class. I can feel a cold coming on, and between now and Wednesday, I have two papers due and a final presentation to give. On top of that, I have a work shift, a doctor’s appointment, a sorority event, and I should probably take a shower and eat a meal. But rather than consider that I might have a life beyond your class—which I am only taking because it’s a required course—you have decided to assign three separate readings, of at least 10 pages each, to which I have to write a five-paragraph response.

Those responses go towards my participation grade, which amounts to 20 percent of my final grade. Participation in your class means actively contributing to class discussions, volunteering whenever possible, missing only one class for personal purposes, and turning in every single assignment. These tenets that constitute a fifth of my final grade, in a course I need to pass to graduate, are evaluated based upon your discretion. Maybe the reason I didn’t go to class was because I had my period and I was in so much pain I couldn’t leave bed. The health center doesn’t give out excuse notes for that, nor do I want to say to you that was the case.

I realize that college is a time in our lives when we are meant to become more responsible and be held accountable for our actions, but if some offices offer their employees two weeks of paid leave for illness, then maybe giving us more than one excused absence would do us some good. You fail to see beyond the confines of your bland classroom, to our outside lives that consist of far more than your mundane lessons.

See, our résumés can’t just say that we spent 12 hours a day studying for your taxing, unrealistic midterm exam.

Our résumés need to include that in addition to maintaining a 3.8 GPA, we also lead three on-campus clubs, volunteer at a food bank, and read in our spare time. Believe it or not, things might have changed since your day, Professor. It’s a matter of dedicating time and resources and energy to not only school, but elements beyond to make yourself stand out from the thousands of other applicants vying for the same position.

I’ve had to teach myself how to run on five hours of sleep and four cups of coffee, intermittently throughout the day, so I can succeed on a mediocre plane. I feel like a broken record as I preach the same lamentations college students have for at least the past decade—we are overworked and undervalued. See, Professor, I’m just a twenty-one-year-old girl trying her absolute best to make you, her parents, and herself proud. I know that sometimes, my work might not be up to par with your standard of excellence, but sometimes, I’m doing that work at 2 AM after a physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting today.

I am just a 21-year-old girl. I haven’t reached my peak of excellence.

I have so much yet to learn and live, and I don’t mean in your class. That’s not to say that I’m what I’m learning in your class isn’t valuable. I am not trying to belittle your work or your career. I’m just saying maybe you could consider that the hour you expect me to sit and read a scholarly article that I don’t understand for your class is an hour I could spend working out, which will subside my anxiety far more than those seventeen pages ever could.

Maybe consider that some days I might come to your class with my heart broken by some stupid boy and I won’t feel like raising my hand and volunteering my opinion because the only thoughts going through my head are what I did wrong to deserve yet another frat douche ghosting me. Maybe consider that my blood pressure is through the roof because I woke up to a low account balance notification and I don’t know how I’m going to eat before my next paycheck, let alone pay for the gas to get to work when my tank is empty.

I know, Professor, that you were young once too. Maybe you have a child in college. Maybe you are still young. Whatever the case may be, I implore you to take more pity on us. Our bloodshot eyes and failed reading quizzes are not always the result of a late-night party. I know that what you are teaching me will benefit me in the long run. I get that. But please, please understand that your class is not the only one I am taking.

Still, thank you, Professor, for dedicating yourself to one of the hardest jobs out there.

I know we are irresponsible and immature and you are tired of hearing why some girl wearing a frat formal sweatshirt deserves an extension on an assignment she didn’t finish over the long weekend because of a “family emergency.” Your class might not always be our first choice for enrollment, but you make it worthwhile nonetheless. You give your own time and energy to create lectures and assignments that will come to stand for something in the long run.

It’s a give-and-take relationship between student and professor, and I hope, dear Professor, that you and I can strike a healthy balance. I wrote this article while I should’ve been reading “Their Eyes Were Watching God” for the third time in my collegiate career, but I promise you I’ll get it done. In return, please make the reading quiz as straightforward as you promised you would.

I’ll see in class tomorrow, Professor.


The student in the second row

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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