University can be difficult, very difficult at times but why? Why is university so hard?
This actually comes from my own personal experience. Let’s start with a story:
My experience with difficult university subjects
In early 2015 I was studying a subject for my computer science degree which was known to be a difficult course. It was also being taught by a professor who was known as having very high standards and expecting a lot from his students. I had this professor before and I actually really liked him. He was tough but fair and was always ready to offer help when it was needed.
As the course progressed it became obvious that a lot of students were struggling. Some were on the brink of failing or dropping the subject entirely which would push back their graduation. I’m not sure exactly how it happened but a group of students decided that the course was too difficult and so they wrote a letter to the dean asking for the course to be made easier and the professor’s standards to be lowered.
I was shocked! Yes I found the subject hard but there was no way I was going to partition the dean to have the course made easier. But it did raise the question, should university subjects be easier? Are they too hard? Why is university so hard?
Why is university so hard?
I’m going to come right out and say it, I don’t think university subjects are too hard. Are they valuable? That’s a question for another time! So why is university so hard?
University courses are intended to do a few things:
- Teach students a deep knowledge of narrow fields
- Teach students how to write or create business level documents
- Reassure businesses who hire graduates that they are getting someone who has attained a certain level of performance
It’s that last point which I think relates to why university is so hard. Universities have an obligation to ensure that their graduates have achieved a certain level of competency. If they don’t then the degree loses value. If anyone can attend university for a few years, coast through barely passing subjects and then receive the same piece of paper as someone who works hard it becomes practically worthless.
Let’s get real here. Would these same students write a letter to their manager saying that the work commitments of their job are too difficult? How would that pan out? I’ve got some news for these students:
Life is not easy! Life is hard!
If these students are going to achieve anything in their lives and make a real difference in the world then they are going to need to do hard things! There is an excellent book about this called The Hard Thing About Hard Things. I would almost suggest that this be required reading for all high school students and adults alike!
In the end university is about preparing students to go out to a real job and to ensure that graduates are ready to make a real impact. They simply can’t do this if they cater to the lowest common denominator.
So long story short, why is university so hard? It’s for the benefit of the student, the businesses who hire graduates and for society in general. I personally think we have moved too far down the path of making things easy, especially for our youth. We should instead push our youth to achieve the difficult or even the seemingly impossible. Without this drive to achieve and make a difference the world will stagnate into a cesspool of consumerism where we spend our days bumming around, doing the least amount of work we can until we go home to play with our latest toys or veg-out watching the latest reality TV show which has nothing to do with reality at all!!!