DURING THE first week of our classes, my block was not able to meet our professor in Ethics because the room assigned for that period was occupied by another class.
In the second week, we were not able to meet our professor again because of the same reason.
It was only in the third week that we finally had our first meeting and had secured a classroom in the St. Raymund de Peñafort Building for that subject. Fortunately, it was a productive meeting for everyone and we made up for lost time.
However, come the fourth week, our class president announced that our classes in Ethics would be held at the Tan Yan Kee Student Center for the rest of the semester.
This scenario has become a usual thing in the Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB) and is just one of the many grimacing moments that Artlets encounter in the first few weeks of classes.
Others include lack or absence of professors as well as conflicting schedules of the students and the assigned professor. If conditions become more unfavorable, these problems can actually last for up to two months.
While it is unfair to hear that the AB administration again failed to prepare as some circumstances were also unfavorable to them, these problems—which have been bugging the Faculty for years—should have already served as lessons not only to the Faculty’s administration but also to the department chairs.
Surely, the administration has already anticipated these problems, but the anticipation should be accompanied with earlier preparations to give way to settling some contingencies. If having classes in other college buildings is unavoidable, room assignments to other buildings must have been settled before the start of the academic year to avoid delays.
These problems are not boxed as “first-few-weeks-of-classes” problems. They stem to other problems that still affect primarily the students, such as fewer meetings with professors, difficulties in catching up with the lessons, crammed outputs, and others.
All these become more difficult to deal with when classes need to be cancelled and suspended due to inclement weather as well as college and academic organization activities that may have to disrupt the classes.
It just amazes me how we are able to get through these—how we are able to do major adjustments and be flexible to meet the demands of the professors and the organization/s we belong to despite the condensed time.
In a way, the difficulties brought by these unfortunate conditions make us more resilient—something we can bring in the workplace in the future, where harsher environments exist.
However, the student body deserves better services from the Faculty and the University when it comes to these matters. After all, the University of Santo Tomas is a prestigious school in the Philippines, and its prestige should reflect not only the quality of education but also the management of the school operations.
Meanwhile, this is also a call for Artlets to remain critical even if these problems seem to be trivial. Showing dismay to these circumstances is not enough. If we can be vocal and participative in national issues, the issues in a smaller context like school should not be “lowkey” and idle in our liberal minds.
These problems may not be solved at once, but little progress is still progress. A small step is still a step to something better. It saddens me that the AB in my first year in college is still the same old AB in my last year; nevertheless, I am still hoping that the administration will be able to address these problems for the benefit of the future breed of Artlets. F
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