Friday, October 7, 2011

Perfect timing. Phew.

Thank the good Lord that fall break has started! I can honestly say I've never been more excited to go home, do homework without distraction and sleep. Even though there have been other postings about semester opinions, I feel like it can't hurt to have reinforcement. I'm not going to lie, I was one of those students last year that was completely in support of semesters and even tried pep-talking a few fellow students. My thoughts: fewer classes, less books that have to be bought, less finals... just less in general. I was completely wrong! I've never felt so swamped with work nor have I ever been this busy! Some of the busyness is my own doing as I am involved in numerous organizations, but those are secondary to school work. So comparison time: quarters versus semesters.

Quarters: More classes/ less time vs. Semesters: Less classes/ more time
In quarters we had more time to explore classes we wouldn't have prior thought of and now we don't have a sufficient amount of time to take classes outside our major that are still of interest. Since the general thought seems to be there is so much more time that can be utilized in the classroom, why not go so much more in-depth and pile on the projects, papers and homework? Don't get me wrong, I'm not a mathematician by far, but semester classes do NOT have a lot more class time in comparison to quarters. Quarters classes = four hours per class per week. Four hours of class times 10 weeks of class = 40 hours of class time per course. Semester classes = three hours per class per week. Take three hours of class times 15 weeks of class = 45 hours of class time per course. This gives us a grand total of five more hours of class in the entire semester per class.  How exactly is this ample time to go deeper into the class material and get a larger outside-of-class work load? I'm not seeing how this is supposed to work quite yet. 

I have found one benefit of semesters: the break schedule! On quarters our Thanksgiving break was wonderful because we hadn't started our new classes yet, but winter break was a totally different story. I hated how I would have tons of work to do over winter break. I would convince myself that I would actually do the work, but how many students do a large amount of work over the holidays? I like that time for my family and to celebrate the different days without having to drag along my book bag. I am completely willing to do work over Thanksgiving break to have a carefree three weeks off for winter! My conclusion, I dislike the transition period from quarters to semesters, but I do enjoy the break lengths and placements. Hopefully, next year the kinks will be worked out with class' schedules and both teachers and students will be adjusted to this new system because honestly, what other choice is there.

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