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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Mid-semester blues

What to do when it really hits different

One day recently, when, by the end of the day, I knew every scratch on my watch face from staring at it so frequently—when classes felt like overgrown brush I had to shove aside in order to see the path—I knew I needed a reality check. Fast. 

Of the United States Census Bureaus’ estimate of 7.6 billion—and counting—people who constitute the world’s population, only 1,723 of them are enrolled at Wofford College for the ’19-’20 academic year. That leaves roughly 7.5 billion who aren’t studying at Wofford. 

Yet, instead of bearing in mind how unique our position as Wofford students is, I think many of us are much too inclined to regard our role as a burden. This pity-inducing attitude toward our presence at Wofford can lead us to approach our courses, and daily class attendance, in one of two ways. 

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First, there’s the commerce angle, in which the classes we attend are viewed as goods/products that are paid for through our tuition. 

I’d never thought of each class meeting as being something that was paid for individually—like a CycleBar class—until recently, when one of my professors made a joke about a course he took in one of his Masters programs, in which the professor asked the class a philosophical question: “What is the value of this class?” to which a student smarted back a dollar value that he had calculated, presumptively based on the total tuition, the number of courses he was enrolled in, the number of class meetings per course, etc. I guess getting your money’s worth is one way to look at your education.

Then, there’s the approach that I believe Wofford is attempting to imbue its students with, which surpasses a dollar valuation, and is reflected in the college’s mission statement: “Wofford’s mission is to provide superior liberal arts education that prepares its students for extraordinary and positive contributions to a global society. The focus of Wofford’s mission is upon fostering commitment to excellence in character, performance, leadership, service to others and lifelong learning. Wofford strives for sustainability in all aspects of college life through respect for the environment and through our core values.

The crux of this approach rests in individuals’ adherence to this mission. In order to determine our commitment to the actualization of this mission, I’ll bring us back to the illustration of me, sitting in class, engrossed in the mid-semester slump, staring at my watch.

Now I’m asking myself how I’m benefitting from examining all of the nuances of my watch face—a rhetorical question, of course. 

It’s not that I don’t enjoy my courses. I brag on my professors and am fascinated by their breadth of knowledge. I love a good discussion of literature. 

But still, I’d venture to guess that we all have those days when all of the other to-dos make it to the top of the priority list and class attendance hangs by a thread. When rolling over to turn off our alarm also entails a hypothetical shaking of a magic eight ball: Do I go to class? Or not? 

I don’t have a solution for the mid-semester blues. Realistically, we’ll all skip a class here and there. Life gets the best of us, and somehow we end up preferring to spend hours tucked away in Milliken or the library, instead of going to class. 

I just want to address that this sentiment exists, and maybe it would serve us well to ask ourselves how we’re optimizing or minimizing our education—even in the middle of the semester. 

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