by Roeland van Beek, class of 2011

I love UC students. As a teaching assistant in Rosemary Orr’s Speech Production and Perception course I got the teacher’s perspective on campus. Now I want to work here for the rest of my life.

Within two hours, I taught a class full of linguists how to program with a particular piece of software. After that, they were supposed to go out and plot graphs of complex data. Now if there’s one thing UC is missing, it is programming courses, so very few of the students had any experience with that.

In addition, they didn’t quite have enough knowledge yet to do the full assignment. I knew they would probably get stuck somewhere. And if that still wasn’t enough to demotivate them, the assignment wouldn’t even count five percent of their final grade. Normal students would have said it was an unfair amount of work. They would have let the assignment go and accept a lower grade.

Not at UC. No one gave up; people spent maybe fifteen hours working on their two plots to get them exactly as they wanted them to be. They probably got depressed at times, but asked each other for help and managed to get over it. After a week, every group had managed to understand their programming and produced beautiful graphs, some more advanced than they would probably ever need.

An hour after the assignment deadline, I taught a workshop typesetting, a completely different kind of programming. The workshop wasn’t mandatory for anyone, the things taught weren’t even actively used in any course, and it was on a Tuesday evening from 7 to 10 o’clock. If you thought that would put the students off: it didn’t. Despite the everlasting pile of homework every student supposedly has, eighty percent of the class came and stayed for the entire workshop.

UC used to advertise with the slogan “Eager to Excel”. I don’t know what made that slogan disappear, but it can’t have been the students. If these students are the future leaders of our world, I can confidently leave the world up to them. And find myself a future in the bubble.


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