Take advanatge of being a student


These are the last years we have to screw around; the last few times to wake up at noon everyday and still feel like we're doing something productive. Being an undergraduate is one of the best opportunities this country offers. But how many of us 17 to 23 years old actually take advantage of it? Actually, sit back and realize that all we have to do four to five days a week is get through some reading and write the occasional five (double-spaced) page paper or take an exam every couple of weeks.

Trust me, I'm not undermining the effort and work students put into their studies and even the effort and workload demanded by some studies of its students. I know all too well how you as the reader are probably reading this and thinking how I don't know what I'm talking about, that you can't wait to finish those 250 pages, reading response and studying for your two exams all before Monday — not to mention that you still have to call your grandma before 2:00 this afternoon because its her 78th birthday and she has a bingo party later.

But in all fairness, after this it's nine to five, Monday through Thursday, staring at the same computer screen with one vacation week a year (if that), bills, endless hierarchal bureaucracy and the hardly secure concept of job security. At this point it's only a matter of years until a lot of us start popping out kids and then we'll be complete slaves to the little tikes' lives.

Right now we have the greatest opportunity to explore, discover, criticize and share. When else do humans have the chance to learn from a few of the greatest academic minds, to have a serious conversation with an intellectual? Every day every class has something new to offer. And what do a lot of students do but complain: "there's too much flipping reading;" "my professor takes attendance;" "oh dude, my hangover blows and I slept through my 1:10 — now my prof assigned me a make-up assignment;" "this is the life of a Rutgers student."

Really?

We, as a student body at Rutgers, take advantage of the wrong things. How many students have never gone to office hours? How many have never stayed after class to even talk to the professor? Honestly, think about the amount of percentage of reading you do a week verses the amount assigned.

Now, if you are still thinking I'm on the soapbox for no good cause — that you actually do all your schoolwork, do go to office hours and absolutely love the idea of being a student — I applaud you. But understand, far too many students do complain about the wrong things. They waste time believing their lives are plagued with hardship. They pity themselves and their 15 credit lives. They find reason to criticize the University and several affiliated organizations without ever considering that negative and passive complaints can be easily turned into positive and active suggestions.

To those students, I ask you to please get a grip. Stop wasting your time — and others' —being a negative Nancy.

There are so many places, people and things that would welcome your well thought-out and thoroughly discussed topics of opposition. Stop talking, talking, talking and do something. After all, we live and work in a learning environment. If you don't share your thoughts now, how can you ever hope to see the change you are so adamant about actually happening?

If you seriously expect things to change because of your insistent complaints, I pity you and your life after these four or so years are over. If you can't get over homework assignments or how a certain organization operates, how do you ever expect to succeed in the working world? If you can't take the initiative and step up now, especially when so many people are open and willing to accept constructive criticism, you're not going to be prepared to ask for that raise or confront your boss on an injustice done to you.

So these are the last years we have to screw around, but that is because we are still learning how to be adults. Remember only four years ago — at most — we were in high school. The world still excuses our childish behaviors but that doesn't mean we should indulge in excuses. We should be using this time to understand how the world works, so that once we are out there it be all the more willing to treat us like the adults we aspire to be.

As much as we may not like it, we are still only young adults. There's no need to rush adulthood, old age, bills and children. But there is plenty of reason, in every way possible, to prepare ourselves for what the future holds. I'm not asking you to change; it's no skin off your nose. But I am asking you to take some initiative. Live up to the honor and responsibility of being a student, appreciate what you have and take the time to change what you can.

Sara Gretina is a Rutgers College senior majoring in English.  She is the University editor for The Daily Targum. 


Sara Gretina

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