How Will You Spend Your $126?


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Silence—deafening silence—has filled my classes ever since I first came to Champlain College. Getting students to raise their hands has always been like pulling teeth. I can’t understand why, and to be honest, I don’t want to know why. Even the best excuses are no reason to slack off on your education. As a student, I am sick of seeing my classmates throw away their chances to learn. Doing so is no good for them or for anyone. I want things to change.

Every pair of eyes not turned to pay attention is a missed opportunity; every missed class or assignment is a costly mistake. This isn’t simply an argument against using cell phones or laptops during class. I don’t have a problem with technology—I have a problem with how Champlain’s students willingly use it to distract themselves from what they’re really here for. It’s the misplaced priorities that upset me. No one likes doing work week after week, but that’s not the point. The point is that you’re here to learn and grow, and everything else is secondary to that goal. You shouldn’t let anything get in the way—even elements of the class itself.

You don’t like a class’ subject, or a teacher? It’s not a required class? Big whoop! You’re in it to win it now. In college and beyond, life isn’t absolutely entertaining or personally-relevant all the time. Learning how to deal with that is part of professional growth. Get everything you can out of your time in college, especially when it will benefit your future. Pursue success! Through slacking, you are putting off chances to become a more skilled person. Even if you think skipping classes or getting bad grades doesn’t matter, you’ll still get the bill regardless of what you end up learning.

Next year, tuition for a full-time, undergraduate student at Champlain College will be $41,728 per year. That pays for a maximum of thirty-three credits each year. Standard courses have three credits, so each course is typically worth around $3,793. For a class that meets thirty times a semester (twice a week for fifteen weeks), each class period is worth about $126 of your tuition. A three-hour class that meets just once a week is worth approximately $252 per period. If you’re not participating in class—and gathering valuable skills and knowledge—you’re paying a lot of money to spend time on Facebook or whatever else is distracting you. Quite literally, slacking off isn’t worth it. Not even to your teachers.

Based on salary information from Glassdoor, Champlain’s adjunct professors get paid approximately $26 an hour. Is that a high enough pay-grade to deal with all the trouble that students put them through? Imagine if you spent an hour and fifteen minutes trying to engage a bunch of just-past-teenagers and get them to think, then went home to grade their half-baked work, to get a measly $32.50 in return. I doubt that even full-time professors here get paid enough for their combined work as teachers, project managers, and professional resources. Certainly not when they’re working with students who aren’t willing to put in effort, who spend class silently staring, or who actively distract themselves with phones or laptops. Teachers are the ones who want you to succeed the most—and they’re only asking you to earnestly participate for a few hours a week.

The time you invest in classes isn’t a big chunk of your life. It’s just four years, and then you’ll be off pursuing your career and your hobbies. The average American life expectancy is around seventy-eight years, and four years of college is just 5% of that lifetime. In comparison, sleep takes up an average of twenty-five years, or about 32% of that lifetime. Really putting effort into those four years of college will have lifelong benefits.

College is a proving ground where you demonstrate your abilities, learn valuable new skills, and discover important things about yourself as a person. Why throw away such an incredible opportunity, especially when you’re already here? You’ll be hurting yourself and everyone who’s supporting you in your educational journey, whether they’re your guardians, professors, advisors, or friends. Something brought you to Champlain College, and I hope that you’ll live out the school’s motto: audeamus. Let us dare. Believe that you can achieve great things through hard work—and understand that you’ll only get out what you put in.