I understand that stress is a normal/needed biological reaction, but doesn’t it seem a little ridiculous to you that our body has the same reaction to schoolwork as it does to being chased by a bear?
I go to great lengths to decrease the level of stress in my life. I take a lighter course load even if it means I stay in college well nigh forever. I miss the hippest parties so I can recharge after a busy week. Unchecked stress causes both physical and mental illness for me, and the trade-off isn’t worth it.
Still. Being in college means that stress is inevitable. It swims in softly, circles around me, threatening, until dead week due-dates approach and it clamps down on my abdomen with its cold spiky teeth.
(In my head I imagine stress as looking somewhat like an angler fish.)
“It’s just a test,” I tell myself. “I could get a B. Or even a C. It wouldn’t really matter. I’d still graduate.”
But the angler fish seems immune to logic, and it never swims away until the tests are over and the slap-dash assignments are handed in.
So here’s a question: Is stress at school inevitable? Or are we doing it wrong?
I have several rants that are constantly simmering in my head, ready to boil over if anyone says a trigger word. This is one of them:
WHY is success in college measured by how much effort you put in instead of how much you actually learn?
College students are supposed to put in 2 hours of homework for every 1 hour of class time. Why is this? Who decided that this was a good idea?
In college, I’ve had a few classes that didn’t just teach me things, they fundamentally altered how I viewed the world and humanity. One of them was a history class at Linn Benton. I loved it so much I immediately signed up the next term for another history class from the same teacher. Another was a population geography class I took this term.
But here’s the thing: These classes were not stressful. They had almost no homework. In fact, the other day I realized that even though I took them at different colleges, the classes were structured almost identically:
- A short, relatively easy quiz every two weeks
- A discussion every week on something we’d talked about in class, with the scoring based more on scope of thought than on following a specific formula
- A bit of in-class work
- No final exam
So here’s a parting question: If learning and stress are not directly proportional, why do schools treat them like they are? Why is there an assumption that more homework = more learning?