We need to talk about the workload that students face

Academia today has taken a different shape and meaning compared to the way it was even half a century ago. Although good education was always a bonus, more often than not people didn't bother too much with educating their kids or themselves outside the necessary minimum they deemed useful and applicable in everyday life.

If you went to college, that was because you aimed for a white-collar job and there you were supposed to get the necessary knowledge and skills. You didn't have to be an all-rounder, however. You had to be good at the scope that your major was about. Essentially, the same usefulness and applicability principle ruled.

What happened?

However, just some decades ago, a shift began. People started to equate high academic achievements with success. 'Smart is a new sexy' if you will. The value of education increased yet at the same time a process of degree devaluation began. Indeed, if everyone has a degree, there is no actual value of having one - that just makes you on par with everyone, just ok.

That is when and why the entire system of education became very difficult for an average student. If everyone is willing to go to college, how to you vet the lists of hopefuls? Hmm, how about we only take the smartest ones? That's when the test craze began.

As early as in the preschool kids enter this rat race and over the years, they are burdened with a lot of extra work that might or might not be related to their future studies in college, let alone their future profession. Nowadays, we we are supposed to have already realized that different people have different interest and focus on enhancing individual talents. Yet despite this commendable sentiment, standardized tests rule our lives since toddlerhood.

Before this wide popularity of college education, you only went for a degree when you wanted to pursue a career in research. You would complete your masters, then you would need to have a doctorate degree. Or not - that was optional. That was rather something of the acknowledgement of your accomplishments in scholarly pursuits, like reaching 80 level of wizard. Still, you didn't have to have a formal degree to do research.

Today, no one will take you seriously without a diploma. No matter how sound your arguments or how reliable your research practices - without a degree you are nobody in academic community. Moreover, no one will even want to employ you for even very trivial, menial, entry-level job. College degree became a new high-school certificate. Without it, they often see you as incompetent, illiterate almost.

How much is too much?

This forced even those who don't plan a life-long career in research to take on huge student loans and enter the world of academia.

All the research work related to this is very difficult which is why many students seek help from agencies that assist students in their projects. Due to the fact that university professors are way too busy to help their students with every research paper, the students have no choice but to turn to google with requests like "write my paper for cheap ". Yes, you can always go to your friends or relatives if it is just about help, but if you are way behind your deadline then you need someone who can actually write this is the only option. And don't smirk on that "for cheap" addition - for a broke student who will carry his or her student loan for years to come it's more than just skimping. It's about survival.

The major reason for this is research papers get rejected by professors for any small reason. Professors see these exercises as building the necessary research skills their students will need in the future which is why they are not allowed to make any mistakes and are required to follow the proper format.

The irony is that most of the students don't even dream of entering the world of academia for life. They don't want to pursue a career in research. They just want a degree. They want to be taken seriously by their future employers. As for the practical skills they actively build them independently by undertaking internships or self-educating.

The second thing is the sheer scope of homework assigned by the professors. There is so much of the home assignments and materials to process outside the classroom, it becomes almost impossible for them to concentrate on anything.

The third reason in order, yet not in the importance: students see these assignments as an extra burden because they are irrelevant. They know that most of the data today become obsolete even before the ink dries on their freshly printed course books. Which is why they don't see an issue in getting any help they can access. Homework is seen not as valuable practice, but rather as an empty formality that only hinders students in getting useful skills and knowledge.

I find it both hilarious and tragic. Our system of education clearly needs reformation of some sort. So next time another examination scam scandal hit the headlines, instead of blaming students, think why they thought of this as a viable option in the first place.

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