“Student’s don’t do optional” has become something of a motto for the Alamo Colleges. In other words, when students are given options, they don’t do anything at all.
At least that’s what administrators and the district board of trustees think.
College isn’t the kiddie pool that high school may have been.
In college, you sink or swim, you learn and adapt or you just don’t make it. Call it harsh, call it survival of the fittest; it’s just the way it works.
No one should be holding your hand. The brilliance of the college experience is the ability to make decisions and sometimes make mistakes. We’re going to learn either way.
In college, you’re supposed to figure out who you are so when you enter your career you have a foundation to build on.
Coddling someone through the process just for the sake of retention and graduation rates does not help anyone to mature or grow.
Many students don’t do optional, but it’s not because they are disinterested; most students work at least one job, many are married, even more have children. Budgeting of time and finances is their priority. Then classes. There is not much left over after that.
What students need is resources — advisers, comprehensive degree plans, uncomplicated websites, labs and tutors — after that we can figure it out.
We can take the options available and choose what works best for us.
To say that we’re incapable of doing so is insulting.
So stop saying we don’t do optional. Give us back our resources. Let us make our mistakes and learn our lessons. Let us choose our own options.
The people who really want to be here will find success, but not being allowed to make our own decisions creates a dependency we don’t need in the future.