By Adi Benhanan, Website Manager
Honestly, I kinda like college. Yeah, I said it.
Yeshiva University is one of the coolest institutions if you really think about it. A university that has a Jewish student body and teaches Torah Studies. Where else in the world could you find that (aside from in Israel)? That aside, one thing that really struck me this past month was how inconsiderate the university is regarding respecting the students’ time. Yes, we are in college and we should be mostly focused on classes, but realistically, 20 year old adults have so much going on in their personal lives too. You try to juggle a social life, family responsibilities, mental and physical health, relationships, a part time job AND school. Your time seems to go down the drain. Of course, this is how life is. You’re expected to commit your time based on personal priority. For me, school is very important, but so is my relationship with my family and my mental health. School shouldn’t be my one and only priority.
Often it seems that many educational institutions do not have students’ best interests at heart. According to Investopedia, “Private colleges and universities also generate revenue by charging students tuition—considerably higher tuition than at public colleges.” The key idea is that colleges are a business. They are run by people who make a profit based on students attending, not only on how well they do. Honestly, knowing that is really unsettling.
That being said, midterms are something most colleges require and they’re all probably just as terrible as ours. This past midterm season was one of the most stressful times in my life. This year, midterms felt different. The last midterm period we had was during COVID when most classes were held virtually over Zoom, so it wasn’t as bad: the pressure was not as prominent, the stress was lessened, and the workload was much lighter. This year, it seemed like the teachers really wanted to test our abilities. We returned to in-person learning as well as having classes continue during midterms.
Teachers felt as though assigning homework was a good idea on top of expecting students to to study for their outrageous midterms. While preparing the first half of the semester’s information for the midterm exam we were still learning new information in class right before the exam.
The weeks were borderline torturous, to say the least.
I asked a few friends to tell me what their experience was this week to see if I was the only one feeling a little extra stressed this semester. A student (SCW ‘22) who wishes to remain anonymous remarked to me, “While the students understand that midterms week is something every college has, midterms week has never taken on a form like this before. Besides the insane schedule of having class, projects, and assignments in conjunction with midterms, students have to deal with the adjustment of in-person tests, closed notes, and an added time constraint. And yes, that’s what college typically is, but YU and every college need to understand that students just returned from over a year and a half of online classes and tests. Just as there was an adjustment to Zoom University, there is an even bigger need for one to return to campus. I think a lot of teachers have and continue to overlook this fact, and it’s really upsetting.”
She’s right when pointing out the importance of an adjustment period. Just like when we had Zoom, no one was used to it and needed time to adjust, but reverting back to old ways is not as simple as just doing that. The mind and body need to adapt to the learning environment we are placed in, which calls for the desperate need for an in-person adjustment period.
My question is: why do classes still have to go on while midterms are happening? Another student shared with me, “Where does one find the time to study for 5 midterms in 3 days while attending classes, and when the review was only two days before the exam?!” Can you cram a 30 page review in two days, along with an essay and two other midterms back to back, all while still going to classes? Probably not.
So, there you have it. Overall, the sleep depriving, caffeine driven, mentally unstable week really opened our eyes. We see where the priorities of the school lie, and it doesn’t seem like they have the students’ best interest in mind. Regardless of the sleepless nights, no college compares to Yeshiva University’s community and education.