University: Ethically Questionable?

I’ve been talking about university-induced stress A LOT in my last few blogs. Possibly because this is my main experience at the moment.

This got me thinking, are universities operating in an ethical manner when it comes to assigning work to students? I’m actually hesitant to use the word ethical, because it comes with a whole formal framework that I don’t intend on consulting at all.

But I really do think universities have some answering to do.

My accusation is as follows: universities, in some cases, knowingly overload students with work beyond what is reasonable resulting in negative outcomes for students.

Now I know that some degrees and some universities definitely do not fall into this category. But some definitely do. I am making an accusation of existence, not universality.

Uniquely Powerful

The trouble is that universities are in a position to exert absolute (just about) power over it’s students. When you’re sinking between 30–50k for a degree, it’s quite hard to walk out in your final year just because the course-load has increased.

What’s stopping lecturer’s setting tough, long assignments? Not really anything. Personally, I’ve had assignments that have taken me around 20 hours outside of class to complete that were worth 5% of my final grade. Extrapolating, that would rate the course at 400 hours for 100%. With four courses, you can very quickly do the math and work out that this just isn’t feasible.

But it’s not just the overall high work-load, it’s also the intense periods where all your lecturers have seemingly collaborated to produce ‘hell week’. During these times, sleep goes down and coffee consumption goes up drastically.

This isn’t about laziness, or procrastination. This is about times when it really does require a compromise between either your grade or your well being. Is this right?

My Thoughts

I don’t think that people should be learning that it is ok to miss out on a night’s sleep in order to complete an assignment.

I don’t think it’s ok for a university to require a student to sacrifice social/sporting commitments in order to complete a degree.

I don’t think that you should need to earn your degree through a trial by stress.

I think that we’ve gone wrong somewhere.

This is quite possibly post №17. Callum and Angus Pauley exist.

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