Letter to the Editor: Against Griff 101 (and by Extension the Griff Center)

By: Drew Sasala

Opinion Contributor

Griff 101 failed me, and it seems to be failing the freshmen because of its handling by the Griff Center. What was supposed to be a course where I met friends turned into an hour of my week I wish I could have back (or spend in actual class). This started as a response to last week’s article, so here I’ll do my minor refuting, and then get on with my big point: Griff 101 needs to be zero credits because otherwise you couldn’t necessarily take all the classes that matter to you (students that have labs or take classes like band for 1 credit would be pushed past the 18 credit barrier if Griff 101 was a for-credit course). I won’t fight anybody on the workshop thing, except to say that it is the Griff Center that seems to have bungled them; when I went to a workshop on study abroad I found it far more than insightful—except the Study Abroad Office, not the Griff Center ran it.

I had a great Griff 101 advisor, and she did her absolute best to have a good class, and was always fantastic when I met with her individually; she didn’t fail me. The Griff Center failed me when I tried to get the Griff 101 requirement waived second semester so I could take a course offered in the same time slot. I had a brief meeting there, where I stated that Griff 101 was not an academic course, yet, it was interfering with the rigorous academic schedule I set for myself. The response (paraphrased tactfully): “well, Griff 101 is an academic course, and I know what I’m talking about—goodbye.” Not my most pleasant meeting ever.

The other experience in which they failed me was when I went there for resume help: instead of working with me toward a format I liked, the resume was completely edited by the “helper” and sent back to me digitally. Thanks. It’s not like I’m capable of doing my own work or anything. Honestly, though, it was probably my most offensive experience there, because I wasn’t treated like the actual college student I was. I imagine many others would appreciate being coddled like I was, but I don’t understand how we can grow as people if we don’t have to perform conscious actions to change ourselves.

Lastly, at the end of my Griff 101 course, they had me complete a lengthy, in depth, survey in which I was able to express my concerns about how to improve the program, and what I had thought of it—is what I’d like to say. They didn’t ask me anything. There were no questions: “did you meet friends?” “was your advisor helpful?” “was the program a good use of time?” Not one of these was asked of me. If the Griff Center is unwilling to actively improve themselves as an office, ask me to “Join Handshake” (or the thing like Handshake from last semester that no one used), makes my resume for me instead of having me do the work, and continues to host the failure that was and is Griff 101, I cannot understand why we keep allowing them to fail. Their job is to make sure students don’t.

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