Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ya know what really grinds my gears?

Mandatory attendance at extracurricular academic activities.

Make 'em optional for extra credit. Offer something in place of the event. Give students a choice! I already am scheduled to be on campus for certain classes at a certain time. Beyond that, I'm not just sitting at home; I'm working around my ridiculous class schedule.

Let's back up here.

This week I've been faced with a challenging predicament as a full-time working, self-sufficient (barely), commuting student. I have two and a half jobs, and one of them is at a private season-ticket holders' club at the United Center. This week we have events (Bulls and Blackhawks games) Sunday through Sunday, with the exception of Monday night. I already request off every Tuesday and Wednesday night event because of night classes, and I just cut my losses with that because you have to sacrifice and be magnanimous and all that jazz.

However, this week, in addition to missing two nights for class, I am required to attend the Etiquette Dinner on Thursday night, and one of the performances of the musical Into the Woods either on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. And if you'll notice again on the November schedule, there are events on all four of these nights, meaning an inevitable missing of FOUR nights out of a six-night workweek!

But it gets better! Each year, during the last two weeks of November, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus comes to United Center.
Being that I work in a classy white-tablecloth establishment on the Club level (or so my bosses like to drill in our heads every day), my restaurant in particular won't be open for the circus crowd (they must prefer unruly, beer-guzzling hockey fans who wear shorts in the winter to ice arenas), so I have two weeks off.

Am I seriously supposed to work two out of six nights in one week when I won't be working (at the U.C.) for the next two?

I know it's not my professors' faults that the U.C. planned their schedule this way. Our great teachers want us to learn how to not slurp our soup and which fork to use when. They want us to experience the magic and excitement of stage performances and stories in solidarity.

These, inherently, are good things (even though the only time I'll slurp is for the last couple sips of my cocktails--but I use a straw! Plus, I saw Into the Woods in high school six years ago).

But I don't have the time (or money) for this!

I'm not donning a Miss Misery sash for pity points here, but something's gotta give. It's a lot easier for some students to attend events outside of the classroom than it is others. I get that for every 3 hours in the classroom, you have to devote an additional 300 outside the classroom per week, yes.

But I should be able to choose when I devote those 300 additional hours. If I want to stay up all Monday night to finish a reading or start a project due Tuesday, that's my prerogative. But to have to pay to attend fairy tale plays and pseudo dinners while forgoing income...uh, yeah. I don't think I can hit up my profs for rent money.

Nothing replaces actually attending an event, but teachers should remember that we are adults and a lot of us work. Give us options. Give us us free! I understand scholarly responsibility, but you have to draw the line somewhere, right?

Is that too much to ask?

Well. I'll figure my life out, friends, but THAT'S:


  1. I totally get your point(s) here. Work it, woman. I commute to school too but have a five minute drive. You have a 45 minute commute involving various modes of public transportation. Many commuters do what you do as well. I can see how certain events would be beneficial to a class, but others that are not-so-relevant are often required. I feel you on the fact that our schedule has to be flipped around so we attend the events. But, at least for me, some classes inform you about the event with very short notice. What if there's no possible way you can attend due to a previous committment?? i.e. wedding, work, or even a date. What if there's a sudden death or family emergency? You can't go because hmmmmmmmm event? or family? Most of us would vote family. Or, what if there's a humongous blizzard and the roads are closed or the El's under construction so it's ridiculous just getting here?

    Good luck figuring this out!! Hopefully it'll only be one week of this for ya!!

  2. I totally agree with you here. I'm sick of having to give up my valuable time I spend working on professors' various projects in order to attend other events (which I have to pay for) for the same instructors. Totally bogus.

    It would be even more bogus if I was juggling a full-time job on top of all that, so mega-props to you for being able to handle that.

  3. This is a totally tubular post. Nice job. But ya know what really grinds my gears??

    Chartwells. Effing Chartwells.