Luke and O. argue strenuously that Rose freshmen shouldn’t be permitted to take sophomore-level classes because they’re too immature and aren’t capable of buckling down to do the amount of work necessary to pass them.
I say let them struggle.
To institute a system that would place systematic, oppressive restrictions on the courses that can be taken based solely on the number of years attended (because such a system would assume, and therefore ignore, technical prerequisites) would make this place so much more like high school that even I’d be inclined to leave, and I don’t necessarily mind all the mollycoddling that goes on here, nor am I ahead in the curriculum.
Can you get any more condescending than to say, “No, sweetie, you can’t take this sophomore-level class because we don’t think you can handle it without bogging everyone else down with your immaturity, even if you have all the technical prerequisites”? How many people are really going to respond, “Oh, okay. You must be absolutely correct because you’re an authority figure”? Are we going to middle school, or college?
In fact, a professor made exactly such a statement to me in my first week of attendence at Rose last year when I was boxed into dropping Engineering Chemistry I. One can imagine my response, and it certainly wasn’t, “Well, since you know best…” (And for those arguing against my maturity then, I’d still make a prof pull out the letter of the prerequisite law if I want in a class and they’re blocking based on “soft” evaluations of maturity by people that do not know me. Immature, or stubborn?)
From the perspective of a sophomore-almost-upperclassman: When I was struggling to harmlessly vent (Luke has since been officially fired as vent-listener, because he takes me too seriously) about an immature teammate a couple of nights, I was told, “In the real world, you’d be told to deal.” I think the same thing applies here. I suggest that sophomores that have to deal with immature team members (who are not necessarily freshmen) be told to deal. It’s going to happen in the real world, even if the base maturity level tends to rise. So why not get used to it now?
From the freshman-wanting-a-challenge perspective: What’s wrong with letting freshmen (hell, anyone, really) find their own limitations? How are people really going to grow without being allowed to push the present boundaries, both of the system/authority and their own? Give them space to stumble and they will either find their balance or go elsewhere.
For those advocating such a system: How do you set a particular maturity level as a “sophomore maturity level”? Do you require that people be 19 years old coming into the class? Do you require that they never skipped a grade in their entire educational career? Do they have to pass some sort of sociability/communications test?
Do we really want to make education here even more templated and formulaic than it currently is by imposing such restrictions? It’s already a “g33k in, engineer/scientist out” assembly line.
My ultimate point may be this: just because I was at a particular maturity level at 19 doesn’t mean everyone else—even factoring in the geek factor of Rose—is at that same level. There are some that are as or nearly as capable of handling sophomore-level courses as “real” sophomores. Ask, and I can give you names of well-balanced, healthy people that were in sophomore curriculum our first year. Just because I’m struggling now, why should I be petty and bitter enough to hold everyone else back? Jealousy is a very unbecoming shade on me.