Grow up and show up

Hallie Beard

Column by Hallie Beard, Junior from Louisville, Ky.

I’ve got a secret for you, readers – one I learned in high school from a great musician and have cherished ever since: if there’s a class or professor you cannot stand and spend every lecture deliberately ignoring the words coming at you from the podium, there’s a way to remedy the torture.

There is a catch, though; you have to actually put in some effort before seeing results.

Once you’ve accepted that, read on.

Let’s say you’re taking a survey class that infuriates you.

The lectures don’t make sense and the professor is rude, so you don’t care about completing assignments on time. In fact, you don’t care about the class at all – it’s that painful, and it’s a waste of your time.

Sound familiar?

If you want to step up in a troublesome class – this is the secret: show up. That’s all you have to do. Show up.

Sit up in your chair, actively listen and look interested – even if you have to pretend.

Showing up means producing the energy you want to receive, and doing it every day.

Recently, I overheard a student complaining about a class, joking that she always ignores the professor’s requests to not sleep or text during lecture. Supposedly, when the professor asked why she came at all, she replied that it was more convenient to stay on campus for her next class.

Too kool 4 school, right?

I get it – some classes are boring, or there may be a professor you don’t exactly vibe with. I’ve skipped my fair share of classes (though I like to call them Mental Health Days a la “treat yoself”), and have been tempted on more than one occasion to rest my eyes in a giant lecture hall.

However, this is Murray State, and giant lecture classes are rare past freshman year. In most classes, professors totally see our attempts at texting or sleeping.

When we’re using that kind of behavior to convey disrespect or apathy, it doesn’t matter that we’re physically in class, because we’re not showing up in the way we should.

Some students see no issue in texting, sleeping, doing other homework or surfing the web during class; the way they see it, they’re paying that professor’s salary, so they deserve to have a good time and be comfortable.

Here’s the thing, though: that’s not how it works, and professors don’t owe us a good time.

While there will always be a few who act like they want students to be trumped by their positions of power, the majority of professors are here to help us become better-thinking adults as we transition into the “real world” of jobs and/or graduate school.

It can’t be a one-sided relationship between professor and class, though. The attitude of us vs. them isn’t fruitful for anyone, and it wastes energy.

Imagine if, every time you tried to contribute in class, the professor pulled out her phone and started texting or plopped down on the desk and started snoozing.

If that scenario seems ridiculous, flip your perspective.

The professor shows up, so we have to as well. There’s really no easy way around it – we have to bite the bullet and do our jobs.

College is tough, but it’s even tougher when trying to keep up a bad attitude.

Drop the act, grow up and show up.