As we embark upon the first week of classes, most of us will contemplate the appropriate balance between school and everything that is not school. The professors have taken it upon themselves to aid the students in making their decisions. The result is tough love.
Tough love is the mechanism by which professors explicitly outline how to fail the class and is best described as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde moment. The moment lasts about 10 minutes and is preceded by an enthusiastic rundown of the syllabus which transitions into a glaring and detailed overview of the inherent possibility that is failure.
The concept is simple: if you don’t do x, y and z, you will fail this course. This idea is true of both college courses and of the real world. X, y and z are usually simple tasks such as doing the reading, finishing the homework and studying a reasonable amount each week.
These tasks are easily neglected in the pursuit of something else that gives immediate gratification or one that doesn’t require an intense thought process.
In the absence of constant parental supervision, tough love is a necessary and grounding means of granting the freedom that college entails while serving as a reminder that the actual purpose of college is academic.
The professors aren’t trying to replace our parents and most importantly, they’re not attempting to hold our hands throughout our college careers. As a service to the student body, they are merely attempting to prepare their students for the real world, where one must accept responsibility for one’s actions in light of complete autonomy.
What kind of lesson would be learned if professors intentionally made classes easy, knowing that the average college student has a social agenda of comparable magnitude to their class schedule?
It would be a great disservice to both the professors and the students to lower our academic standards to make more time for more entertaining and enjoyable moments of life. It makes no sense to lower our standards when the reason for college is to obtain a higher education.
In a way, it’s almost paradoxical.
Metaphorically speaking, with the ample distractions of college, the smallest length of rope is oftentimes just enough for the college student to hang his or herself.
Despite popular belief, tough love merely outlines the consequences of poorly made decisions and does not inadvertently define only one path to academic success. The idea of threatening failure, or poor grades in general, is to reiterate the concept that for the most part, each student is in control of their own academic fate.
In all honesty, tough love isn’t necessarily pushing us towards academic greatness but is actually steering us from academic mediocrity. It doesn’t say ‘reach your potential,’ it says, ‘don’t bottom out.’
Hence, there is a choice to be made: to either acknowledge or reject the message hidden beneath tough love. It is in our best interests to not only accept, but also embrace the concept of a professor’s tough love.
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, in the absence of tough love not many people would actually go to class, do the reading or study prior to the night before the test. Tough love is oftentimes the only reason college kids feel bad about drinking on a Tuesday night or regret not going to class.
Without tough love we wouldn’t be here.
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