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academics and kraft: a bittersweet story

I’m in my fourth year at The University. I’ve been enrolled in over many more classes than required for my degree. I could graduate this summer, if it wasn’t for one particular subject which is neither my major or my minor.
I’m simply tired of it.
I work 30 hours a week now doing something I love and feeling like I’m making a difference, except perhaps in the 30 minutes or so I’m taking today to write in this. Each morning, I attempt to wake up early to go to a class that I must attend. I don’t always make it. I’m not really that great at making it. Some mornings, I run late and can arrive at 8:40 a.m. for a class that ends at 8:50 a.m. I keep walking. Why disturb the class? Some mornings, I make it on time or within 15 minutes. A couple of times I just overslept.
This class, however and interestingly enough, is the one I care about the most, put the most time into and am worried the greatest. The rest of my classes are stimulating to a degree, but this is the class that is really attempting to push me.
Speaking of pushing me, I’ll return to the subject of attendance. I do not understand attendance requirements. If I miss an activity, dock my grade as proper. If I fail to learn material because I didn’t attend, so be it, my grade will be reflective of that. But dock it twice? That’s what an attendance standard does. I could know the subject perfectly, attend class for every assignment, be docked the 10% or however much for participation and result in a 90% grade. However, due to attendance requirements, I would fail. I don’t understand that.
Then, this class, if you couldn’t tell is Spanish. We are also required to attend a Spanish Lab session. Great. Fine. Dandy. An hour a day to work on a computer listening to audio stored on a website that we can access anywhere. I’m not phased by that. I’ll attend. Not a problem.
Let’s take this last Thursday for example. I missed the week prior so I went to another computer lab on campus and worked on the lab manual. I opted not to do it at home so I can focus on the task at hand. I catch up and I’m on a roll so I finish the Thursday material as well.
I walk into my class, ahead because I was on a roll, understood the material that this week’s lab was to focus on and I notice my assignment for the week. The lab manual that I’ve done, a CD portion that I haven’t and a suggested completion of my third passoff, which, thanks to the mercy of my instructor, I had already done.
So, I do the CD portion. It takes 10 minutes. It’s great. I grew from the experience, I’m sure.
I look at my lab manual. I think to myself, “I can work on it some more, right?” I look at the material and no I can’t. I haven’t studied this yet and my actual textbook is at the office. So, I can’t work on my lab manual. Passoffs are the most stressful thing I’ve ever done and my classroom professor is much better at putting me at ease when I do them (except when I ask him to sign off on one and he starts asking me to do two I hadn’t even looked at yet).
So, I look at the clock. So far, I have arrived at class five minutes late, listened to five minutes of administrative detail from the TA and worked on Spanish for 10 minutes. It is 3:20 p.m. and I have to sit in class until 3:50 p.m., since if I leave early it is counted as an absence and if I have too many of those, I’ll fail the class.
I work 30 hours a week, attend school full-time, put 15-20 hours a week into a student organization in which I serve as President, operate a non-profit which is gearing up for it’s recruitment/soliciation season and I’m stuck in class 30 minutes staring a computer screen when I have plenty of other things to do. This is ignoring that I need more Spanish credit than what I need for my minor. Eight more hours and it’ll be equal to my major.
I must give credit where credit is due. My instructor this time around is fanstastic and by far the best I’ve had. This is my fourth attempt at language and he’s good. He’s the only reason I kept the class and didn’t look into taking the sequence at ACC or some other location.
Must go back to work.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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