Being a college student isn’t easy. It’s a huge mental, physical and financial commitment.
If you take it seriously, you don’t get to party or visit with friends and family whenever you wish.
But it’s all worth it in the end just to receive that degree.
This semester, however, the pressure is even more intense for everyone involved with the imminent faculty strike looming over all of us.
I realize that there are two sides to this financial argument between PASSHE and APSCUF, but for this commentary I want to focus specifically on student perspectives and experiences.
I remember being in a state of total confusion as I read that message at the beginning of the semester that school was starting as normal.
Now, in week 5, I thankfully feel that I have more information at my fingertips. That is not the case for everyone, however.
When I inquired about their opinion regarding this topic, a couple of students admitted that they were completely confused and knew nothing.
Which makes sense because even I know more about it than I did as little as a week ago.
One helpful resource from the Faculty Union’s side is their website www.apscuf.org. It lists information and answers some frequently asked questions, much like PASSHE’s “Faculty Negotiations” link on the top of the ESU website, www.esu.edu.
No matter how many questions are answered though, there is still no certainty. For myself, that’s one of the hardest parts.
I could deal with the situation easier if I knew what exactly the outcome would be in the worst possible scenario.
If it happens, no one can tell me how long it will last, what the effect will be on my financial aid, or if I will graduate on time, no matter the circumstance.
I am in my last semester as an undergrad. I believe that there is a special kind of frustration one feels when they are this close to the finish line and are scared that they won’t be able to cross it in time.
Not that the effects wouldn’t be just as bad for a freshman, sophomore, or junior. They would just feel it in their own way.
When asked for their opinion, students had both similar and different perspectives.
Megan, a senior here at ESU states that, “I understand why they are trying to do it but I also find it unfair being in my last semester of classes.”
Katie, another senior says, “I understand why the faculty wants to strike, I just wish it hadn’t come up during my last year. I also think that the faculty is doing a decent job keeping the students informed but the state and the administration kind of seem to want to ignore it.”
Kristen, a junior, comments on her severe frustration, “If this strike becomes continuous to the point that it is jeopardizing my education, I plan on switching schools.”
Finally, Jodie, another senior, comments about her passion for the faculty, “Just give our professors their well-deserved pay. They are our gurus and we need them to succeed in our education. They work insanely hard for their students. Give them what they deserve, and understand that they deserve way more than what they ask for. Also, give me my credits.”
It is not easy being in the position of a student right now.
Most of the time I try not to worry about the near future, as it is truly scary, and it becomes hard to concentrate.
What if all of the effort I have put in this semester becomes pointless?
That thought drives a lot of my own frustration and anger.
That doesn’t mean I don’t support the Faculty Strike because I certainly do.
No matter what my thoughts and feelings are, they cannot override my belief that our teachers need to take this stand if they feel it is necessary.
My teachers are in the trenches with me, doing their best to forge me into something better intellectually.
They are people I can turn to for help when I am going through a personal hardship, and thus have earned my loyalty.
Through my commitment, I am responsible for my own future successes.
However, without my teachers, I would never actually become successful.
I will continue to cross my fingers that a fair agreement can be reached before it is too late.
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