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College Students Have a Fear of Failure

Updated: May 26, 2016 5:58 AM

Just when you thought college life couldn’t get any tougher and stranger…

Students at Oberlin College in Ohio are making up reasons as to why they are entitled to a passing grade for the semester.

More than 1,300 students at the Midwestern liberal arts college have now signed a petition asking that the college get rid of any grade below a C for the semester, and some students are requesting alternatives to the standard written midterm examination, such as a conversation with a professor in lieu of an essay. (The Week)

I’m all for alternatives. Writing essays and cramming research for hours inside libraries can be quite daunting, but what students must understand is that if you want alternatives, you need to consider putting in just as much, if not more, effort to earn that grade. However, you cannot simply ask for the removal of letter grades from the curriculum.

This goes to the same sense of entitlement that many millennials have nowadays. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Why do we have to blame an institution for assigning too much homework?

Some students claim that their activism work and their academics make the completion and passing of their courses that much more difficult. Here’s a wild concept: don’t take on too much. I understand that you want to pad your resume and fill up your free time with worthwhile activities, whatever they may be. You are voicing your opinion in favor or against something that’s touched you deeply.

Whether it’s the nearby incident involving the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a cop, which is a tragic story, or something else in the news, it’s okay to feel troubled by the events that take place. But, if you’re trying to get somewhere in life and going to college is doing so, you don’t have any right to demand how you’re graded and where the grades begin and end.

The student activists’ request doesn’t come without precedence: In the 1970s, Oberlin adjusted its grading to accommodate student activists protesting the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings. (The New Yorker)

This goes back to adults who borrow loans from the banks for homes and cars. They end up wanting to blame the big banks for allowing them to take out the loans because they can’t pay them back. If you couldn’t do so in the first place, then why do you call yourself a victim and place no blame on yourself? It makes zero sense to me.

I understand protesting. I understand getting arrested as a result of protesting. If you want to earn a degree from a higher institution, then you have to make the effort. It’s pretty cut and dry.

Colleges may take in a lot of money, and they may put on a front that they are all about learning and educating. Surely, that front may lead to a bigger issue that they’re acting like a business. That could lead me to believe that colleges have some soul-searching of their own to do. But, in the end, you must be responsible for your own actions.

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