I was not looking forward to 8 a.m. classes when I started college. In fact, I was a little weary of classes in general. I’d heard from some older friends that you go to college and spend four years in giant lecture halls, memorizing information, regurgitating it for a test, and then completely forgetting it. I expected I’d be able to skip a lot of classes and I would never get to know my professors. However, I am almost halfway through my undergraduate education, and I’m glad to say that, at least in my experience, I was very, very wrong about college classes. Here’s a little insight into what I was thinking:
My expectation for college classes:
Ugh, it’s Monday and I have an 8 a.m.
I get up, drink three cups of coffee, throw on a sweatshirt and walk to class. I sit among 80 other kids who are asleep with their eyes open. Our professor talks, and talks and talks. No one asks questions because it’s very uncool to be interested. I secretly text under my desk, but of course no one’s awake, so I curl up and close my eyes. I don’t think I’m going to go on Wednesday. I can basically teach myself all of this. I’ll just show up for the midterm and the final and I’ll be good.
It’s Monday and I have an 8 a.m. I get up, drink three cups of coffee, throw on a sweatshirt and walk to class (that’s never changing). I walk into a classroom with 15 other students. We’re all tired, but ready to work. Our professor discusses what the focus is for the day. We spend about half an hour openly discussing the latest topic, and then we break up into two groups and work on our respective PR campaigns–campaigns we are executing for real clients with real goals and real contributions to society. We stay a few extra minutes after class to call our client and plan for what needs to be done for Wednesday.
What a change, right?
As a public relations major, every class I have taken thus far has been goal-oriented and focused on experience. I am currently taking Public Relations Writing in a Digital World, and we are working with Syracuse alum Michael Short, ’10, President of the Global Social Enterprise Institute (GSEI) and CEO of Short Enterprises. The Institute, an initiative of Short Enterprises with more than 250 university and institutional collaborators and projects spread across six continents, provides consulting for socially engaged organizations. Over the past few years, GSEI has had over 100 students and a number of courses involved in their work from the Newhouse, Maxwell and Whitman Schools.
Short and Professor Joe Cunningham have given myself and my classmates the priceless opportunity to essentially intern for a well-respected organization and earn credits simultaneously. We didn’t have to apply. We didn’t have to interview. All we have to do is show up to class and try our best.
I truly love going to a school where the professors not only respect the students, but also encourage us to rise to expectations that we may have never set for ourselves. So if you ever think about skipping your morning classes, think about what you’re missing. It might be in that class you realize a love for what you’re doing, or at the very least perhaps, you may realize that 8 a.m. class offers much more than you expected.