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Picture the scene. It’s stupid o’clock. Your head feels like someone hit it with something heavy. Regret washes over you as you realise that the five consecutive shots that seemed like such a good idea at Sugar last night now makes about as much sense as Nick Clegg’s policies. Your alarm clock is droning on and on like the worst kind of lecture. Your sigh fills the room as you dimly accept the truth. It’s time for a seminar and you have to go. Why are they doing this to me? Why make me go to these things? Should they even have that right? It’s my money, after all.
These little gatherings are some of the very limited amount of contact time I myself get as a first year law student. Seminars and the occasional case class are also the only compulsory lessons I must attend, though judging from attendance numbers I am sure half the people in first year Law didn’t receive that piece of information. Outside of law, differing degrees force some level of compulsory attendance upon its students, alongside some optional lectures. Maybe there are some of you out there who can say, since starting U
university, that you have never missed a single thing. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. Every now and again a morning will come along where my bed becomes some kind of prison and I am unable to escape its tender embrace. Yet, I drag myself painfully away as I realise one thing; if I don’t show up to my seminar, I’ll be handing in that dreaded green form.
This ultimately raises a debate that has probably crossed many minds. Should there be compulsory activities on a time table? At the end of the day students are technically adults and should therefore be responsible enough to drag themselves to these things of their own accord. Right?
The sad thing is we students are lazy. Sure we work hard when we need to but it doesn’t change the fact that if something is not compulsory and we are not up for going, we won’t go. Missing lectures can seem like no big deal if nobody is watching, especially when you can read a textbook to catch up. But what if they are watching?
I have spoken to many different people about this and they all agree there are many things they will miss unless they have to go to them. Reasons vary, from being hung-over, to having too much work, to simply not being bothered to get out of bed early. Speaking as someone whose timetable strongly prefers a early get up every single day I can relate. Some get more out of these compulsory sessions than others, though I can grudgingly admit that seminars are very helpful in my rather challenging degree, mainly because they show me just how wrong I’m getting everything. In all seriousness though I appreciate the sessions and I can see how helpful they have been one term in.
The thing is guys, at the end of the day we are here primarily for the degree. Sometimes the work sucks but it’s what we are here to do. Compulsory lessons are compulsory to make sure we do not miss valuable information that at the end of the day we’ll probably be thankful for come exam time. Though the people who put together my timetable may at first seem evil, it’s all in the idea of helping me get the best degree I can.
So in answer to the question of whether there should be compulsory activities on a timetable, it is my view there should be. It is easy to complain but remember that we are lucky to be at university at all, especially with the Government, in its infinite wisdom, increasing fees for the class of 2012. The sad thing is there are those who would probably never show up to anything, wasting their time and the universities’. Even those who want to do well may feel compelled to miss more than they should. Though some classes may be less than an inviting prospect, I personally feel it’ll ultimately be worth it in the end.