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The Pioneer Column: Weighing the Workload

By Harry Pearse
Staff Writer

There is one branch that everyone dreads from the tree of higher education: essays, school work, or homework. I myself have hated these words since my first day of school, and, low and behold, I have had an essay from each class pretty much every day. However, subjects in which we—the students—have chosen as our majors or minors should have a greater interest to us, so I guess homework from these subjects is more justified, no? I am not saying, ‘essays are great fun, because you chose the subject.’ No, because no matter what the essay entails, it is hard to focus on and enjoy, especially when you have so many to do at once.

Harry Pearse; columist, student, soccer player
Harry Pearse; columist, student, soccer player

Whoever came up with the idea of Core Curriculum, I just want to give them a round of applause… for ruining most students lives! Do all students feel like this? Are they hating the fact that they are busy all the time with essays and math homework, or do people like the fact they don’t have a free moment? On a personal level, I am loving my core subjects at the moment, English and Sociology have been “right up my alley.” Every time I have Professor Bernstein’s Sociology class it brightens up my day and furthers my horizons on things I may not have known about American society.

So, in this piece I want to give you guys—as well as myself—an insight on how international students are coping with the change in work load and change in academical system.

Coming from a different country, like so many of us Pioneers do, it is hard to understand and grip the American educational chain. For example, in American high schools, they teach calculus in math. Calculus: if you said this foreign and frightening word to any normal Brit, they would be (for once) at a loss of words and baffled. I haven’t been taught such a thing in my English high school back in Oliver Twist’s London, and I certainly won’t be saying to any math teacher at Post, ”Please, sir, can I have some more… calculus?” No, you won’t catch me asking for this exciting request.

I can feel the pain for many of us international students who come from countries where they are taught completely different things. However, I know for a fact that in pretty much every country they have homework. So, do we really need to get used to homework for every class? Well, I believe that no matter how many years and how many assignments you have been given, homework and essays are always a burden to the modern student. We have way more exciting things to do, such as playing Xbox, going on our iPad’s, or simply sleeping.

I was speaking to one of my teammates the other day. We spoke about the old ‘to-do’ list, which I know everyone uses. I said that I had three essays to do on my list on Monday night, by Tuesday morning I had worked it down to one. But by Tuesday evening, it was back up to three again. This made us chuckle, but it wasn’t a laugh because it was ‘so funny.’ Nope. It was the laugh of despair and comprehension that it is going to be like this for my whole college life.

“Homework is a valid way of preparing for exams, but I’m not a big fan.” - Johann Kristjansson, sophomore International Business major
“Homework is a valid way of preparing for exams, but I’m not a big fan.” – Johann Kristjansson, sophomore International Business major

It’s safe to say work from college life has welcomed me with open arms! This sheer amount of work can be extremely hard for any student to cope with. Even more so for international students in these early days of the new chapter in our lives; dealing with issues of settling in, sorting out our accommodation or housing, or even making new friends who might not take school as seriously as we might. But we have made an even bigger sacrifice, hence the reason we have to keep working hard. And the moral of the story is, ’kids, do your homework!’ I’m joking. The only advice I can give is just to accept that no matter what, you are going to have homework and essays to do and the worst thing you and I can do is let it get on top of us and begin to get ‘lates’ or ‘incompletes’ on our class records. Why do you think coffee—or tea in my case—was made for?

Now with all of this hard work, there must be a time where you can let a bit of steam out, and there is. One of my many mottos (if you can have more than one motto) is “work hard, play hard.” You are not at college to hate life and write every hour of every day, so have a day where you can relax, kick back, and enjoy yourself. This will really help decrease stress levels and also allows your mind to freshen up and start again with your work. Well, apart from calculus, you’re on your own there!

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