Let’s set the scene, shall we? You’re in your most difficult class of the semester. You flat out failed the last exam and cannot afford to get anything but an A on the next one. You’re in the review, and just as you hear the professor say, “You might want to write this down it is going to be on the exam,” you ready your pencil, the clock strikes 2:15 p.m., and the students around you start rustling their backpacks to pack up their belongings to leave. You completely miss what the professor says. No big deal right? No. When you get to the exam the next day, you notice a key word from the end of yesterday’s class but have not a single clue as to what it means.
It is very apparent that students have become accustomed to packing up a few minutes before class ends. However, slowly they have forgotten the blatant distraction is causes other students, especially in the larger occupancy classes at Penn State. In smaller classes there obviously aren’t enough people to cause a large ruckus, but it is so disrespectful to the teachers who are only trying to educate and get through all of their course information. It seems as if students could not care less about what their professors have to say and have no worries about interrupting the end of their lectures with zipping backpacks and rustling chairs.
In order to curb these events, sociology professor, Dr. Erik Solevad Nielsen says that he often holds off on clicker questions until the very end of class, so that students do not leave early in fear of loss of participation points. He also lets class out early so that students do not know when to start packing up.
Dr. Jadrian Wooten teaches economics here at Penn State, and he expressed his frustration with this very fact on the first day of his classes. He teaches a section of economics 102 in Thomas 100, which seats 726 people, and he understands that it can get extremely loud with this large of a group. He promised that if this section was good and did not pack up early, he would to be able to cancel classes on Fridays at the end of the semester. He also acknowledged that the reason why most students pack up while the professor is still talking is “because many professors go over time, and kids have places they need to be.” He promised that he will never go over the 50 minutes that he is allotted. The most important thing that Wooten mentioned was, “If a student packs up or leaves class a minute early every day, they don’t realize that those minutes add up to an entire missed class period at the end of the semester.”
So, in the future think about this. Is packing up a minute early really important at the end of the day? It is likely hindering your academic success. So next time think before you zip. It could be the difference between a pass and a fail!