Mandatory Class Attendance, Soft Drinks & 3 Other Things College Students Want to Get Rid Of

What would the world be better off without?  In separate op-eds and articles published recently within campus newspapers nationwide, students have offered a bevy of suggestions on “unnecessary traditions, ideas, and institutions” that should be scrapped or significantly changed.

Taken together, they represent a massive decluttering worthy of a similar feature published in The Washington Post.  The Post’s annual “Spring Cleaning” asks a select group of thinkers to nominate “ideas, traditions, people, and places we’d be better off without.”  In its five-year run, writers have proposed to the Post that everything from engagement rings, exit polls and Texas to chick flicks, flip-flops and the vice presidency be given the boot.

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In the spirit of their professional opinions, this fairly regular feature brings student voices into the mix. Below is a sampling of things students argue should be scrapped from college campuses and society at-large.

1) End-of-semester procrastination.  As University of Arkansas student Shawnya Wethington exclaims in the The Arkansas Traveler: “We’re finally getting close … We are dreaming of the lazy days of summer and are trying to project that relaxed attitude onto our current schedules. On the other hand, most students are approaching the busiest points in their semester. If it seems like all of your classes have projects due at once, that’s not too far from the truth … Honestly, though, I don’t know a single student who starts a final project early enough. We all know the project is coming and dutifully ignore it as long as possible. It’s in our nature to procrastinate this final project. Now, you are going to have to pay for it. . . . Your transcript doesn’t reflect the effort you put in for the majority of the semester. It reflects all the way through these final projects.”

2) Mandatory class attendance.  As Texas Tech University student Mike DuPont II explains in The Daily Toreador: “I recognize there are certain classes that require attendance to fully comprehend the concepts being demonstrated in the class, but if a student pays for the class and pays the fees for the teaching assistants, along with whatever fees may be applied to the tuition and decide not to attend class then that’s their problem, not the professors’. The main issue with penalizing students for attendance is it gives an inaccurate reflection of a student’s quality of work. One may receive a B in a class when they were producing A-level material simply because they missed one more class than everyone else. How can you justify penalizing a student that was obviously successful in the class because they were not in attendance?

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3) Soft drinks.  As University of Louisville student Dakota Neff writes in The Louisville Cardinal: “Soda, coke, pop, cola: no matter how you refer to the ubiquitous soft drink, you should know that it isn’t the harmless all-American treat that clever marketing campaigns would have you believe. . . . You will find Pepsi brand soft drinks for sale in every dining area, and Pepsi dispensing machines in nearly every building on campus. This is not OK. I understand that the university needs corporate sponsors; but that doesn’t make it all right for them to be promoting something that is in every way detrimental to human health. In my opinion, the overconsumption of sweetened soft drinks is an epidemic. The United States consumes massive amounts of soda, and word on the street is we’re the most overweight and unhealthy country in the world. Is there a correlation here? I believe so.”

4) Double standards for gay athletes.  As University of South Carolina student Aaron McDuffie points out in The Daily Gamecock: “When Brittney Griner, a three-time All-America Baylor University basketball player, publicly announced her sexuality in a news conference [recently], most sports fans and media outlets didn’t seem to care … In the past few weeks, we’ve spent immeasurable time speculating whether a major sports league like football or men’s basketball could handle a gay player, and the overreaching implications that such an announcement were to occur. . . . Why do we go into a national frenzy over speculation about whether a male athlete comes out as gay, but shrug when a female athlete does so? Unfortunately, it seems America has a double standard when it comes to homosexuality.”

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5) Drugs and alcohol overuse.  As East Carolina University student Jessica Powell writes in the The East Carolinian: “It seems like every month a new drug is introduced into the hands of many unscathed students. Bath salts, Molly, cocaine, Percocet, or benzodiazepines, many students will spend their hard earned money to catch a buzz, whether they are paying their own bills or not. These drugs in moderation are acceptable in the eyes of many, but if you are so strung out and reliant that you lose focus on life, that is where some changes need to be made. Although drugs are typically worse than alcohol, most of us can admit that we have made some really bad decisions while drunk. Whether it is fighting, breaking up, arguing, or having a $100 bar tab, waking up after a morning of drinking is usually filled with regrets. Anything in moderation is okay, but if this becomes a detriment to your well-being, it may be time to stop.”

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