Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Guilt Trips (or Classes) Aren’t Worth the Money

At The University of Texas at Tyler, we have a lot of wonderful professors who really bond with their students in their classes. Because of our campus size, we have an attractive student-to-professor ratio (Which is 17:1, which means that on average, there are seventeen students to one professor) which means that there will be at least a few professors you will form a bond with.

This in fact happened to me in the Political Science Department at UT Tyler, where I have met a number of wonderful professors who really do care about you. One such professor took a liking to me in the first class I took with them, and although I sometimes developed headaches from the conversations we had in that class on the particular subject it was over, I was comfortable enough and eventually felt inspired by the end.

The semester was coming to a close and I had already selected my class schedule for the next one, and their class for the next semester wasn’t on it. I was nothing against the professor because I really like them and appreciated all of the advice I’d gotten from them, but the subject was something I KNEW I was going to be uncomfortable with, so I’d opted out.

One day in the hallway, they stopped me with a puppy-dog expression and told me they noticed that I wasn’t on the roster for this new class they were offering and I hedged, saying that I had chosen my schedule already and had a class in the slot theirs was going to be. Which was true.

They seemed to be okay with it, except they paused and told me they really enjoyed me as a student in their classes and thought I would have added a good dimension to the conversation. I’m not going to lie, I was flattered… And a little bit guilty for having turned it down. But in the back of my mind, I knew why I had done it.

And I honestly should have listened to that thought. When I thought the subject of the class was going to be one that would bother me, I actually underestimated the degree to which it has. The material is always incredibly emotional work (at least 70-80% of it is) and the kind that makes an empath like me take a nose-dive into funk land for hours, or sometimes even days.
What I feel like after class

The worst part is that I’m kind of stuck in the pits with it because I am taking the exact amount of hours I need to be a full-time student, so I can’t get out of it and stay on as a full-time. Sometimes, I feel like I’m trapped in a little corner, and at this point, the goal is to get through it and slam that door hard.

What’s the moral of the story? Even if you love a professor and think they’re amazing, be aware of the course subjects you decide to take. If you KNOW there’s a subject that bothers you or even just bores you to tears and it ISN'T mandatory, don’t feel guilted into taking the class. They’ll understand if you choose to sit that one out, and you will be much, MUCH happier not being stuck in a situation that seriously affects you, whether emotionally or academically.

So, when the time comes for you to choose your classes for the next semester, choose wisely. Don’t put yourself through a genuinely harrowing situation out of guilt or obligation to someone else. If you do find yourself in that situation, don't wait until it's too late to change your decision! 

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