What weighs us down?
Certain things are unexpected by-products of our academic success. Students these days are looking for a “plus” - a job, a volunteer position, some sort of accomplishment outside academics. That was not a significant factor when I first began here. But now, in my course evaluations, while students are generally pleased with their classroom experience, there are many more comments about workloads being too heavy. That is something fairly new — it wasn’t always this way. So am I really working them too hard, or is something else is contributing to their concerns about workload?
The good news is that what students are doing now academically is far more than we ever thought possible 25 years ago. But the mentality appears to be to do better, do more, do faster. And I wonder — psychologically, how far can we go? Has it always been like this and it’s becoming public or has there been a short term change? I don’t know.
Let me clarify that my impressions are grounded more in experience than objective data. It would be very interesting to have more information on this important issue.