Do We Really Value Liberal Arts Schools?
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Do We Really Value Liberal Arts Schools?

Why are we spending all this money on classes just to pay more attentions to a phone screen than to the professor?

Do We Really Value Liberal Arts Schools?
Selena Spezio

At James Madison, GenEds are hated but a necessary evil for every student. We all have to take them and most of us feel the same way about them. They're the dreaded courses we have to take before we get to dive into the really fun stuff, our major courses. The long list of courses to choose from makes it hard to decide when stressing over what classes to take.

Students spend hours doing their research on the professors and the courses during enrollment time, worrying over the ease of the course, if the course is actually of interest to the students and whether the professor is suitable, but is it all really worth it?

The reason I ask this question is that I am currently taking three GenEds, and every class I see a large handful of heads pointed not at the professor, but at their laps. With a phone in hand and heads bowed, they are completely oblivious to the lecture and what's being talked about.

We live in a time where technology is the center of our young lives, constantly attached to what's happening at the moment, and the cute pictures taken over countless weekend endeavors. Phones swallow our attention and lure us into its wasteful trap.

During lectures I tend to, out of sheer curiosity, look and see exactly what these students are doing on their phones, and from my observation, it's almost never academic. Someone will be on their phone or even laptop texting, while others could be pointlessly scrolling through Instagram randomly liking pictures, all while the professor is giving a passionate lecture. It blows my mind every time I see it. The countless number of heads all looking down.

It's a true reflection of, in my opinion, how my generation sees education. Do we really appreciate these lectures as we should? GenEds are obviously mandatory for a reason, right? But I don't think many see the importance or really value the course and material they're being given.

College is now a necessity to get anywhere in life, as we're told. Nowadays, without a college degree, "you aren't going to get very far in life." I've heard that a time or two. But it's not even about the future, it's about the fact that were given these great opportunities to expand our knowledge of the world through these courses and really learn, yet its thrown to waste because of a phone screen.

We are spending thousands of dollars to sit in these classes and gain from it, but for a good amount, that's not happening.

I will openly say that I am guilty of being attached to my phone too much, I always want to be in the know of what's going on in my friends lives, and I love to inform people of what's going on in my day to day life, but I draw the line at staring at my phone in lectures.

I am fortunate enough to be able to sit in these potentially boring lectures and learn, an opportunity that so many don't get. I cherish this amazing experience, so if my literature professor is droning on about the language an author uses, I will listen and learn, because that's what I'm attending college for.

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