The Guidance Counselor: On Class Participation

Sam is not a licensed counselor. He’s a senior with lots of good advice in his head, which is conveniently located right here.

Question: “I have someone in my class who drives me crazy. It is the first class I’m taking for my major. This person will come in late, text the whole class and then randomly raise their hand to go on some rant that is just a waste of time. I’m not sure how to deal with this person without calling them out. Thoughts?”

Answer: The thing that sucks a lot about college is the people who don’t really want to be in class or don’t take it seriously. It’s frustrating to the other people who realized that they have a great (and expensive) opportunity to attend Seattle University and take their education seriously. At the end of the day there are going to be people like this every step of your life. You can spend your time getting frustrated with them, waste more of your time and energy, and just become bitter. The other option is to just get over it. There is no way that this person is going to give a sh** about this class, let alone how you feel about them being in the class. This person is spoiled, but find some strength in the fact that at the end of the quarter you will have learned something this person wasted.

Question: “I’m terrified of speaking out loud in class. I’m a freshman with all juniors and seniors. The professor has a participation grade and I’m worried I’m going to get screwed by not speaking up. What should I do?”

Answer: Most of time, if you speak to your professor, they will understand that not everyone feels comfortable speaking in class. A lot of the time participation grades involve other things too, like attendance, class work and engagement. You can also remember what Hannah from Girls says: “Some of the worst stuff you say sounds better than the best things some other people say.” Good luck!


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