Sunday, March 09, 2008

Tagging Along

I tagged along with a class field trip today. It was incredible to get to hear about the things we were seeing, to get more historical background. It was also fun to talk to the international students, to get a sense of how their studies are going and what they're learning.

There's a certain amount of partying in this international program; I've heard that's pretty typical or programs for students studying abroad. Of course, it's not unheard of for students to party at home, either. (I had one post-study abroad student do a presentation for a class once who sounded like she'd spent most of her semester drunk. I've met others who became involved in local community improvement efforts, or tutored English for local school kids in addition to getting straight As.)

It's fascinating to hear how students talk about their home schools. My sense is that most students feel a great affection for their college/university. But they can also be pretty critical.

A couple of the students today were, indeed, pretty critical of one aspect of their school. And yet, it sounded like they hadn't even considered transferring (and I didn't suggest it; I simply don't know them that well and they didn't ask my opinion). But here's the thing: if I signed up for SLAC NotAnIvy so that I could study in its Underwater Basketweaving program, and really wanted to do Underwater Basketweaving enough to major in it, but found that I hated the one Underwater Basketweaving instructor, I would sure as heck take my tuition dollars elsewhere.

But I'm in a way different position than these students. First, I realize that there are tradeoffs to going to SLAC NotAnIvy, and that those tradeoffs include few professors in a given field, but usually opportunities for small classes and such. It's just that if there's only one instructor in my chosen field, and I really don't think s/he's any good, then even one on one tutorial instruction isn't going to satisfy me. And if my chosen field is fairly uncommon and specialized, then aiming to a larger university after two years would probably make a lot of sense to me.

But again, I'm in a way different position, and I know that.

In addition, these students may be right or wrong about their complaint, or more or less serious (vs being sort of braggy about not being challenged in their classes enough). I mean, these may be the very best students the school has, or not, and I have no way of judging that.

My hot bath just called. G'night.

No comments:

Post a Comment