Column: Will blow-off classes become blow-off jobs?

Remember that time when you used to invest 100 percent of your effort and enthusiasm into your gen-ed classes?

Yeah, me neither.

Or, how about that time when you blew off those gen-eds and finally decided to get serious with the classes you were excited for?

Yeah, still me neither.

If you’re anything like me, aka a college student, your morning lecture classes probably go something like this:

-Spend 15 minutes trying to connect to Mizzou Wireless. -Sigh dramatically to yourself at the relative inactivity of early morning Facebook. -Land dejectedly on Reddit and half-heartedly type notes in between memes.

Sound familiar? Sure it does, nothing out of the ordinary. But here’s where it gets concerning, at least for me.

I head to my favorite class of the semester: sociology. My professor is a nice guy, the topics are interesting and the texts for the class are engaging enough that I actually invest time into reading them. During class, discussions are interesting and I participate because they seem more like conversations than a bunch of people vying for participation points.

But now I'm sitting here working on what I'd like to become a column, trying to figure out why I'm not consciously investing myself in the class.

Basically, I’m coming up on the middle of my second year at MU, perhaps the halfway point of my undergraduate academic career, and the vision I once had of years of interested academic engagement and “Dead Poets Society”-esque collegiate endeavors hasn’t really appeared to me yet.

Am I the only one that sees a problem here?

Maybe it’s just me. I could be getting lazy. Maybe undergraduate classes are supposed to bore me. Maybe it gets better, or maybe I need to.

I usually blow through my homework as quickly as possible to get an A and move on. That’s what it was like in high school, and it seems like it was that way for most of my friends.

I figured I’d just fly through my classes in high school until I got to college, and then I’d start taking an interest in class. I said that last semester about entering my journalism sequence. Now I’m saying it again a few days after receiving my acceptance emails for the magazine sequence and the Missourian with J4450 queued up on my MyZou wishlist.

What happens when we say we’ll get serious right after we graduate? What will our resumes look like if we wait around to get serious until we get jobs, if we even get them? What if we just end up sliding by again? My English major is already pulling against me, so I can’t really afford to do that.

If we’re paying thousands of dollars and spending years of our physical prime sitting in classes, are we going to want to look back and say we just slid by and came out with the bare minimum for a degree?

With college degrees quickly becoming the new high school diploma, is merely having one going to promise a blossoming career, six-figure salary or even any minimal sense of financial security? Or how about basic satisfaction with the job we land?

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to use the Facebook excuse anymore if I’m asking myself these questions.

If I’m minoring in Spanish, should I be spending all that time and money just to buzz through the homework and get an A?

I don’t think so.

Although I’m still taking classes, it wouldn’t hurt to start looking up the words I don’t know and start investing some effort into becoming bilingual, not because I haven’t put in enough work to succeed in class, but because I want to learn, not just earn an A. And we all know those don’t always have to overlap.

If I can switch my motivation from getting A's to actually learning something (or just making both happen simultaneously), I might be able to enjoy the classes I have an interest in and find a way to make the boring ones more bearable.

From now on, the only exciting thing in class won’t be the exclamation point on AirPort telling me I’m not getting on the Internet today.

And I’ll start taking more notes in English instead of writing the remainder of this column.

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