Why Are Participation Points Still A Thing?

Why Are Participation Points Still A Thing?

People learn lots of other ways too.

After the first week of classes, I would say I am pretty happy with my schedule and my courses. Each professor went over the syllabus and then there it was, the dreaded participation grade. For many students, participation is easy peasy, but for many more, it can be quite intimidating. With learners of all kinds, why do we use participation as an indicator to learning?

As a visual-audio learner, I best absorb the lesson when I spend time listening to others and watching them put the lesson into practice. With participation grades, I feel forced to say something or ask a question I could answer myself so I can establish with the professor that I am learning. And I get it: once I go into the real world, I am going to have to voice my opinion or ask questions and be a real adult. But I just do not see the point of having our grades rely so heavily on participation.

Let me make things a little clearer: I am talking about the participation that requires you as a student to ask questions and add to discussion. I know many teachers categorize participation as attending class, being on time, turning in homework, creating group projects and working well with others. All of those criteria are totally OK with me for a "participation grade." What I do not want to do is show up to class knowing I have to say something just to keep up my grade.

And I understand why professors want students to participate: so that they know we are learning. But if my grade hovers between and an A and a B because I did not talk more than three times each period, then I'm sorry, that is ridiculous.

For more than two years at Rollins, I have struggled with this whole idea of "participation points" because I am quieter and more reserved in class. I am all for a great class discussion, but sometimes I just feel I do not have anything valuable to contribute.

I do think that Rollins professors make an effort to get to know you and learn how you learn. So, they will ask you a question or frame a discussion topic in a way that suits your learning type as well as your comfortability with participating. For example, one of my education professors knows I learn primarily through audio and visual aids rather than asking questions or making discussion, so she pays attention to the way I observe and take notes rather than me actually saying anything.

I am not sure what an alternative would be to participation grades because professors do need to know whether we are learning or not, but I also do not know why it is such a big factor of our overall grade.

Cover Image Credit: http://bit.ly/2bKybX6

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter

I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.


One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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High School Seniors Should Be Excited For College, Not Scared

Even though it seems stressful and it is a big new place, it will be some of the best memories you will have for life.


Going into the summer after my high school graduation, all I could think about was college, and how I was going to prepare to go to a new school and move away from home. Just know, it is not as stressful as you prepare yourself for it to be. You don't need to worry about not having any friends or not knowing how to get to all the different buildings because you have to remember everyone else on campus has been in the exact same position you are in, and there are tons of people on campus to help you.

One of the things I was most worried about was classes and how to know which classes to take. My advice is to go to counseling and plan out your classes before you register. Planning out classes will drastically help you stay on track and the counselors will help you make a balanced schedule that you can actually handle.

Another piece of advice would be to not bring as much stuff for your dorm as you think you will need. By all means, bring the essential things that you will need, but remember a dorm room is very small and you share it with another person. You won't have a ton of space for extra stuff and you want to have space to move around and actually live in your dorm.

Finally, if you are concerned about meeting people and making friends, just try and be as outgoing and open as possible. Everyone else in the dorms is just as nervous as you are too meet people, it really helps to try to branch out. Joining clubs or greek life also helps you meet people around campus with common interests as you.

College is not something to be scared of. Even though it seems stressful and it is a big new place, it will be some of the best memories you will have for life.


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