Wait, what? We have a final?

So the topic for class today was supposed to be about ethics, which I always enjoy talking about in classes because usually it starts a pretty good discussion. However, that wasn’t really the case today.

Students love to talk, love it. We love to chat, spread rumors, gossip and because of this reason there had definitely been some talk about whether or not we had a final in the J2150 class that I am currently enrolled in.

Today, the mystery ended. We do have a final. Bummer.

While I can understand a lot of people’s frustration, I wish this announcement wouldn’t have soon become the center of the class period. The next 5-10 minutes were filled with what if questions and what the final would cover until finally some brave student asked: “Is this ethical?” Naturally, the class went wild; cheers and standing ovations, it was a little much. But he did have a point. Is it ethical? Based on what I did get from class today, no, technically it isn’t. One thing Mizzou prides itself on is having their finals schedule figured and announced on the first day of any class via the syllabus. Unfortunately, the students in this class weren’t given this luxury and that’s tough, but it’s also life. Things don’t always (more like almost never) go our way.

However, professor Rice did bring up a good point: during that 10 minute span of time that he was accepting questions about the final, there were more students engaged and asking questions then there had been the entire semester. That says something, doesn’t it?

Let me break it down, students  were more concerned about how the final would affect their grade than if the material that we were supposed to be learning all semester would be on said final. Still confused? Students care more about what the final will do to their final grade for the class and GPA than what they’ll learn get out of the class itself.

But that makes sense, doesn’t it? In high school, I got A’s and B’s no problem, it didn’t define me at all. I was an honor roll student, but that didn’t define me either. I was doing so many other things that I was excited about that my grades were simply just something that were gonna help me get into college. That’s it. Now that I am in college, I am constantly hearing about what class will help a students GPA, which teacher grades easiest. Essentially, college is all about the GPA. But why? Yes, you need a 3.0 to get into the J-School but where did this notion that a three digit number is the end all be all of our collegiate career? Do the clips written for the Maneater or the Missourian mean nothing, what about serving in the MSA cabinet? Why is so much focus put on a number.

In my opinion, that’s the real problem here. Not the fact that we have a final, but that the only reason so many students were up in arms about having a final is because of how it would change their grade (and possibly their winter break plans). You can say that getting into the best J-School in the country isn’t just about the GPA, but when there is no portfolio required, no letters of recommendation asked for and no resume, nothing except for 60 credit hours of prerequisite classes and a golden 3.0 GPA, it’s hard to argue your point.

I’m not sure if having different requirements would have stopped students from being so upset today, but for me, it wouldn’t have been an issue. At this point, it still really isn’t an issue. But I do hate the notion that only dedicated students are the ones that get a 3.0. Sometimes, life happens and it really effects a person. Having a 2.9 doesn’t actually make someone less of a person, it just means for whatever list of reasons, they couldn’t make reach that 3.0.

Ultimately, that’s what I feel like students were really upset about today. Yes, I took this class because I had to (and wanted to) learn about all the different facets of multimedia within journalism, but really, the goal the entire semester has been to get an A so I can pad my GPA for the J-School. That’s the goal of every class I’ve taken so far at Mizzou. It’s all been for the J-School.

I guess in the grand scheme of things, nothing any of the students say can or will change what’s happening. It’s unfortunate, it sucks, but 4 weeks and it’ll be all over. I find a lot of joy in that.

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