Field of Science

Monday, December 3 - End of the semester blues

The first Monday in December is the last Monday of the semester (exam week doesn't count really).  TPP has about 10 lectures worth of material to cover in 3 lectures, so something is amiss.  A number of students have made appointments this week.  Some of them will give me a lot of excuses for their poor performance, but no good reasons.  This distinction will be largely lost on them.  Now having been one of those students myself, albeit many years ago when the prospects of graduating more or less equated into being drafted to fight a war in Vietnam, how this happens is something TPP understands, but with one important distinction.  TPP knew perfectly well that the explanation was quite simply my own decision, my own actions, and nothing else.  So far, and typical of today's students, it's never their fault.  One young lady admitted that her mother has always called her "last-minute Lena" because she always did work at the last minute basically never studying just cramming for exams.  How's that working for you now? inquires TPP.  Answer: a D.  Lots of students suffer because their study skills fail to advance, to improve, beyond high school, and after the first couple of years of common curriculum and introductory courses, they can no longer do the work and their grades fall off.  This is very discouraging, and many of them, even when their admit they understand the problem, don't want to do anything about it (and professional help does exist).  They just want to graduate and be done with it.  So you figure you'll never have to learn anything again? asks TPP.  Do you understand that your ability to learn is your greatest skill?  This is a bitter pill to have to swallow, but it is becoming more prevalent of late affecting about 20% of students based on my samples of juniors and seniors.  The digital age has done nothing to improve grammar and spelling in fact those skills are definitely in decline along with vocabulary (Confusion over "very" and "vary"!  "Our" instead of "are"!  Lots of wrong words period.) and none of them seem to think this is important at all sadly.  Those letters of application and those little essays about "career goals" they are showing me are not going to impress anyone, but maybe the bar is now set much lower.  Hint to job applicants.  They don't care about your hobbies or your career aspirations; those are little writing exams.  This comes as a shock to some; others express their disbelief.  Ah, that's at least a different excuse.  They had their wisdom teeth removed and immediately felt their IQ decline. Sigh.     

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