Five minutes left…

Jonathon Roberts

I fear for the future of this university. It is not because of increased enrollment, lack of parking, or even for fraternity conflicts that I fear. Rather, I fear because of the unreasonable approach to time management that professors are imposing on students. My fellow students, how often has this happened to you? You are sitting in your language class and the professor, disappointed with student participation, encourages you to just take five minutes a day and review that vocabulary that is plaguing you. “Whenever you are just standing around, perhaps in line for lunch or the registrar, whip out those vocab flashcards and drill yourself.” Just five minutes a day.

Later that day your physics professor encourages you to look over your daily notes just five minutes every night before you go to bed. Just five minutes.

In your piano lesson, your teacher notices some dexterity problems and requests that you take just take five minutes a day and review your beginner technique exercises.

In music theory your professor assures you that if you would just take a new chord a day and focus on it for, say, only five minutes, you would surely have them all down in no time. And the list goes on: calculus, psychology, basketball, the Lawrentian; they all want just five extra minutes a day.

Well, let me tell you, Mr. or Ms. Professor, we have had enough. We cannot and will not give you all just five minutes a day. It is not healthy. It is not sensible.

Do you realize how many requests of this nature we receive in one week’s time? It’s enough to fill up an entire separate day of just five-minute increments.

A day ruled by five-minute increments is a day ruled by pandemonium. These tiny little tasks contaminate our to-do lists, mob together, and swirl around our heads in a giant five-minute funnel cloud. We become overwhelmed by this massive list of mini-projects in a single day.

This leads to apathy, and apathy to violence. If there’s one thing I’ve leaned the hard way during my years at Lawrence, it’s that violence is not the answer to scheduling problems.

Perhaps you are not convinced of the severity of the problem. Let me tell you that while it may not seem like a big deal now, many years down the road it could be the demise of the university.

Let’s take a moment and speculate what could happen if professors got their way and LU was ruled by this five-minute conspiracy:

Standard classes will be five minutes long with twenty-minute breaks, divided into four five-minute segments. The start of each segment will be cued by a cross-campus tone and an announcement of the current mandatory all-campus activity.

Students will be encouraged to limit each conversation to five minutes, and if possible, review flashcards simultaneously. All conservatory practice rooms will be equipped with stun lasers set on five-minute timers; any student practicing an exercise for more than five minutes will be maimed into submission.

Packets of yummy and time-efficient “LUDS,” LU Downer Supplement, will replace the current meal plan and be available campus-wide.

The only hope of unregulated sanity for students will come at the registrar’s office, where an increase of degree requirements to 140 five-minute classes a day will lead to an average wait of sixteen hours to register. Just think, 140 different topic areas; it will mark the pinnacle of liberal arts education.

Academic departments will have to be made up just to fulfill the new diversity requirements. A typical day will still include classes from Philosophy, Theater, and Art; but also will include classes from phony thrown-together departments like “Wall Putty,” “Bacon,” “Weeze-snarf,” and “Communications.”

Indeed, my friends, we are sliding down a slippery slope to despair. Let’s fight this conspiracy with full force before it consumes us. Spend an unreasonably long time eating dinner today, burn your flashcards, and microwave your popcorn for seven minutes.*

Spend the next five minutes like they are your last. Thank you for your time.

*The Lawrentian does not condone the overcooking of popcorn under any circumstances.

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