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Contemplate topics

Madeline Buckley | Thursday, November 15, 2007

Like all other Notre Dame freshmen, I am required take Contemporary Topics to complete my P.E. requirement. All I heard from students who had already taken the class was relief at being done, and most people seemed to regard it as a joke.

My first impression was that this class has more going against it than it can possibly achieve. On my first day, I was bombarded with fact after scary fact about what happens when a student drinks, does not get enough sleep, etc.

The sad paradox of Contemporary Topics is that while I am sitting in class learning about the importance of sleep, I could be in my room receiving that extra hour of sleep that I so badly need.

My question for the average Notre Dame freshman is, will this class inspire you to change your habits? Will most students give up drinking on the weekends because they hear about all the adverse effects in this class? Will they go to bed an hour earlier every night because they learn that lack of sleep causes health problems?

My gut feeling is no. I do not believe it is the fault of the class, but rather the nature of the students. It is the natural reaction of a student to rebel against someone continually telling them to not do something, especially in a class most deem a waste of time.

Also, people are so entrenched in habits that it does not seem likely that information from one class will be reason enough for students to change their lifestyle. Although I am sure there are some who will take what they learn in Contemporary Topics seriously, the best reaction the class will get out of many students is a slight twinge of guilt for their bad habits.

Simply teaching students about health does not seem to be enough because as far as I can see, the teaching does not inspire action. What is the solution to this problem then? Although the class seems to have minimal impact on students, discontinuing it just seems like giving up. Students should learn how to take care of themselves.

Maybe it is too soon to gauge the effectiveness of the class. Perhaps the information will slowly filter into the minds of students, and then be reinforced by experience.

Maybe a gradual change will take place. I am not sure. However, my personal solution is to make peace with the class.

Although I will resent dragging myself out of bed each morning to sit in a class that will tell me how important it is to get enough sleep, I will try to open my mind, and maybe even learn something.