Being easy isn’t always a bad thing – at least when it comes to college, that is.
After I graduated from high school in New York City, I wanted to go far away for college – where the weather was always nice, so I could soak up the sun and party.
I wound up here at USF, and Florida was everything I’d hoped for. Once sophomore year rolled around, though, partying and sunbathing got old: It was time to crack down on the main reason I enrolled in college – academics. I breezed through my classes freshman year without noticing – or caring, for that matter – how easy they had been. So I returned home to study in New York for a year, and worked my butt off to keep a decent GPA. Maintaining a 3.6 at USF was challenging, but earning a 3.3 in NY was a feat.
My original thought was that USF was easier because it reflected Florida’s low-rated education system. After returning to USF to finish my studies, I came across a different reason as to why USF was so much easier for me: the professors.
Professors at USF want students to succeed, be it their southern hospitality or the fact that they care about students.
In New York, my professors avoided office hours and never replied to e-mails. As a New Yorker, I can say the classic “New York” attitude – arrogance, rudeness and impatience – was so pervasive that I was nothing but a measly undergraduate student in their eyes.
I don’t think I learned as much in that environment as I do here.
Sure, I may have absorbed some information, but I was very intimidated by my instructors after they rebuffed my fellow classmates’ requests for help.
Classes were also more difficult because professors weren’t flexible when it came to emergency situations. And this wasn’t just one of my professors – rather, a large majority of professors, advisors and department heads.
This lack of flexibility is key to understanding why it’s harder to succeed in New York than in Florida.
Because I have to work full time to pay my college expenses, I sometimes have to leave class 15 minutes early. My USF professor was understanding of this, but when I approached my NY professor about working nights and having to leave early, he was rude and annoyed.
Along with professors, the advising sector of my school and the financial aid department made my stay at that university a nightmare because their policies were so complicated and the support staff was not very helpful.
USF seems easier, but this should not be frowned upon. The learning environment, the availability and eagerness of professors, and the University itself all try their best to make the university experience manageable for students.
My first day of class here, I had professors who actually went around the room asking for name, major, year and favorite movie. I even have professors who avoided using textbooks in their classes to save their students a couple of bucks.
At USF, I can do much better in school – but not because courses are easier or academic standards are lower. Professors at USF make my job as a working student much more manageable, and their attitude should be emulated by even the most prestigious universities.
Jillian Papa is a senior majoring in international studies.