Down and Out: A SUNY Tale

I am emotionally, mentally and spiritually done–I just wish the fine administrators at the University at Buffalo felt the same way.

Four years is a LONG TIME, especially when your major(s) are getting mundane. You’ve read just about all you care to about Shakespeare and about the Cold War. You’ve written the papers on F. Scott Fitzgerald, analyzed FDR’s foreign policy and interpreted The Bible as nothing but one big novel.
Dear UB,
I’m really done. I can’t do it anymore. I know I TECHNICALLY need one last 400-level history seminar and my honors thesis to graduate but could you maybe let it slide? I can’t be here/do this anymore. Your classes are the same every semester. I have taken countless classes that appear different in the course catalogue, but you read the same books. I just checked my computer files: I have written 5 papers on FDR, 10 papers on Shakespeare and a whopping 15 papers on American Cold War foreign policy. I just want my $20,000 piece of paper so I can move on to grad school for a change of pace, scenery and academic endeavors.
Yours sincerely,
Caitlin M. Tremblay
Seriously though. Four years IS a long time…especially in a school system, like SUNY, that is facing tremendous budget cuts and can’t afford to offer new and interesting classes. Yes, SUNY budget cuts are going to screw up everything across the whole realm of the school system but I don’t think that the SUNY board or the SUNY Chancellor know just how drastic of an impact these cut classes are having on the quality of education.
Simply put, WE’RE BORED. We end up taking different versions of the same class every semester because there are no other options. Tenured professors are habitually stuck in their ways and don’t invent new classes. The new classes come from the adjunct faculty who are being fired because there is no money to pay them.
SUNY is probably one of the best school systems in the country but honestly, after all these budget cuts, and from seeing the course catalogue at UB, I can’t imagine it will stay that way. If we keep on this track SUNY is going to end up embarrassed and usurped by Florida. The horrors!
Some are proposing to cut athletics in order to keep money within academia. I say go for it. While I enjoy watching the UB Bulls (lose, more often than not) I would rather have a wider range of classes and enhance the value of my education than have a mediocre football team.
This is why I’m not even that opposed to the proposed tuition increase. It’s necessary with the budget cuts.
If SUNY keeps cutting the budget and UB stays with this over the top UB2020 nonsense then I am all for the proposals to change a Bachelor’s degree from four years to three. If all my classes are going to be repeats and the information I’ve learned is going to be redundant and common place then I want to spend less money for the same education. I want to cut out the repeated BS classes and get my degree in three years–I’ll still have learned all the same stuff.
A lot can happen in four years. Presidents come, go, or stay. The Olympics happen…I could graduate from college with a head full of knowledge and good memories…but because of these budget cuts I know a lot about Shakespeare, a lot about Chaucer, more John Milton than I ever could care to know, all about U.S. foreign policy, FDR, Reagan and Lincoln, and more than anyone should ever know about every single aspect about the history of Brazil. I know a lot about a very small group of things. I’d rather know just enough about a broader venue of topics. Specialization is what Graduate School is for.
Dear SUNY,
We want our classes back and we want them back now. Don’t sacrifice one of the best education systems in America for your selfish and vainglorious need for athletic glory. Don’t sacrifice the value and level of my education (that I’m paying you for) in favor of lackluster sports teams. They may have “hoop dreams,” but I have a future riding on the opportunities your school system provides me with.
In good faith,
Caitlin M. Tremblay
Budget cuts, no classes, athletics, tuition increases…(they might even pull funding from student publications and the journalism certificate program!)…it’s all very disconcerting and disheartening. I have never been happier about the fact that I graduate in the spring. I can leave this jumbled mess of faulty faculty, dull and redundant classes and utter disregard for quality education behind me.
It’s been fun UB–really is has. All I’m saying is that it could have been better if we focused more on classes and education rather than paddle boats (yes, boats) across from the CFA and that ONE International Bowl appearance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s