the truth that I'm not really paying to attend any of my classes. So long as I get a passing grade my attendance, and by extension anything I might otherwise have learned, means nothing. No employer with a sliver of working grey matter will ever care whether you earned an A+ or a B or a C- in your psyche class sophomore year (which for me actually was a rare A). They will care if you have a degree that's appropriate to the position you want, and they will want to hear stories about how life has prepared you for this and what an excellent employee you've been to others.
I'm paying Pitt for a diploma, and perhaps some neat experiences, but precious, precious few of my classes are actually worth attending regularly, and it's an equally rare prize when I end up learning something worthwhile in a lecture. Hey, for fun let's make a list of Good Classes I've Had:
Biology for Non-Majors: Taught by a hilarious Scotsman, this class is thoughtfully structured in a way that assumes that you don't already know everything about biology. The reading follows right along with the lectures, and is available as a cheap Xerox from the bookstore. Sadly, the site of my sole falling-asleep-and-drooling incident.
The American Way of War: Professor Goldstien ("Goldy") is priceless. Hilarious and serious, well-read and experienced, he'll tell you about life in post-WWII Air Force and actually fucking know what he's talking about. Well structured class means that you rarely leave without being enlightened in some way.
Introduction to Art: Fucking hard, basically a memorisation course, but it literally gave me an entirely new appreciation for the "art world." Plus the Prof (Gretchen Bender) was way, way cute. Sounds a tad immature, but dammit, it's true.
Explanations of Humans and Society: This sounds like one of those throw-aways, and in a way it was. The lectures were generally interesting but damned difficult to stay awake through. The recitations shined, though, and apparently, magically, somehow I convinced everyone that I knew the subject matter. Well enough to "A"ce a few papers, anyroad. And, Freud fucking rules!
So, four for fifteen so far. Actually, five, 'cause this Creative Non-Fiction is becoming enjoyable. Other profs have tried, many have not, but if only one in every three of yr. classes is anything but a bore and a hassle, something isn't jiving. My poor attitude towards academia in general, coupled with traditionally non-existent study habits, might have something to do with this opinion. And of course there are kids in any class who do well and even seem to enjoy it, but thanks to my Inner Rebel I have never ever been one of those. The classes I am interestsed in I have already studied for and quite likely know as much as the teacher does, and the ones I don't care about I cannot bear to expend effort upon. I just want my degree, please, and there's no need for it to be painful for either of us.