Tuesday, November 16, 2010

N for No Thanks!

I received a letter from Community College last week. Since I wasn’t expecting anything from them, I immediately tore it open and my eyes quickly began to devour the words. As a result of my outstanding GPA and superior academic achievement, I was being offered the special opportunity to enroll in an upcoming honors level English course.

Since I don’t need another English class, at least not another research writing course, and the class is at a time that won’t work for me, I’m gonna pass. However, I finished reading the letter anyway. I was informed that I can ask any instructor of any class to give me honors level work. Apparently all that’s required is a special form from the registration office and the instructor’s permission. Interesting.

You might be thinking, as was I, why would I willingly ask instructors to give me more work? Except, of course, to pad my transcript with honors classes, which I assume are supposed to somehow look better. The thing is I’m only seven classes away from finishing my associate’s degree. Had they caught me a few semesters ago, I might have considered a few honors classes. But, now? Well. Now I’m just a little too smart to ask for more work and/or harder work just for the sake of making me look a tad bit better on paper. Apparently that is not the only reason one takes honors classes though…

The letter went on to say that taking honors level courses would provide me with more of a challenge. Oh, okay. I see it now. I’m apparently too smart for Community College, lovely reader. I wonder what tipped them off. Is it the fact that my GPA has been a solid 4.0 for over a year? It took them long enough to notice. And while I am a perfectionist, apparently I am not an overachiever, because I’m not buying into the “honor” bestowed on those who abuse challenge themselves with honors level courses. Perhaps in a bachelor’s or master’s degree setting, sure, but for an associate’s degree? Really? I don’t think so.

Community College doesn’t seem to understand that they are just a means to an end for me. I need to get my associate’s degree done efficiently (and cheaply) and they meet that need. Once I have what I want from them, I’m done. On to bigger and better things.

Community College has either seriously overestimated my motivation or underestimated my common sense. Why would I put my flawless GPA on the line just to have the words “honors level” appear a few times on my transcript? I can’t imagine that it would give me that much of an edge when applying for a bachelor’s program. I’d think a high cumulative GPA is good enough.

But, perhaps that’s the problem; I’m fine with just good enough. At least for right now, where my associate’s degree is concerned. I mean, really, is the college I transfer to going to look at a 3.6 GPA where the transcript notes some honors courses and think it’s that much better than my 4.0 GPA without honors courses? Is there that much of a difference? I really don’t think so.

As far as being challenged? I think I have been, and continue to be, challenged just enough. Thankyouverymuch! And, because I just recently registered for spring semester classes, I can say with confidence that next semester will be a challenge. Sure there have been some courses along the way that haven’t been very challenging, or riveting, or really felt worth my time at all, but I viewed them as a necessary evil. I don’t think taking them as honors level courses would’ve made them any better.

With only two regular courses—statistics and creative writing—left to take after spring semester, assuming all of the classes I’ve registered for work out this spring (more on that later), I won’t be asking for permission to take honors courses anytime soon. I guess that ship has sailed. I’ll have to be satisfied with the fact that Community College apparently thinks I’m too smart for them.

I know that sounds incredibly arrogant, but that’s really all I can take away from the letter. I mean; I’ve taken four semesters of classes, and they just now caught on to the fact that I could maybe use a challenge?! Seriously?! I can say with confidence that I’ve definitely felt challenged, even if the only challenge presented with certain classes was the shear amount of work assigned. And as I try to fit seven classes (well, five classes and two competencies) into the next two semesters in order to be finished with my associate’s degree on time to start the bachelor’s program in the fall, I have a feeling that there will be no lack of challenge or frustration.

Thanks, but no thanks, Community College. You can take your honors courses and shove them. I’ll keep my 4.0 GPA (or as close to it as I can manage)!

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  1. I got an honours degree (BA) but I didn't have to do extra classes... I'm not even sure what I would have had to do differently to get a non-hons degree. Maybe our system is different... anyway, I can totally understand your not wanting extra work at this stage!

  2. I don't know if things are different here or not, but usually we can graduate with honors based on GPA. However, they have honors courses (which they say are not more work, but a "different" kind of work) for those who show advanced academic ability in order to provide more of a challenge. These are the kinds of courses they offered me, and for just my 2 years of liberal arts, it's not worth it. For my BA, it would be, and I'm hoping the option is available when I get there.


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