Week 12: Declining by Degrees

The first video, which was posted in 2007, I think gives a clear snapshot into what academic life was like at the time. However, I think some of the concerns raised are still applicable to life today- for example, I liked how one of the students pointed out the huge number of readings required in classes, as well as the fact that very few of them apply to students’ daily lives. Likewise, the debt that college students faces is staggering- a friend of mine is considering joining the armed forces after she finished nursing school just to get some of her loans paid off.

The film Declining by Degrees was a PBS documentary that I found both eye-openingĀ  and frustrating. As somebody who now works as a GTA, I can definitely tell when my students aren’t doing work in my class, or are trying to just skate by. Ethically, this is an issue; if we are just trying to get through in order to get a degree without really trying, doesn’t that diminish the value of our degrees?

Considering my own experiences, I feel that the film leaves out the experiences of some non-traditional students. One of my roommates in undergrad was an out-of-state student who worked two jobs to pay for her own education and graduated early. Her experience, even though we were at the same school, in the same program (and living in the same room!), her experience was totally different from mine. If I were to remake the film, I would like to get the perspectives of students working, students who change majors, and students handling personal struggles in addition to academic ones.

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