Difficulties Imagine-ing

As you all know, each year UBC relies on student volunteers to help run Imagine by signing up to be MUG/Squad leaders and managers. So it would seem, with hundreds of volunteers, that the university would be better able to accommodate these student volunteers that it relies so much on- perhaps by doing things like canceling labs for all students in 2nd year and up, or by letting the professors know that they shouldn’t deliver actual lectures on the first day of school. And for the most part, this hasn’t been a problem that I’ve really encountered until this year.

Some of this general disgruntledness comes from the fact that I’m a science student (I think). Most Arts classes I’ve taken are quite good about not doing anything more than a brief introduction in the first class. And to be fair, most of the time, UBC Science does a pretty good job of ensuring that there are no lab check-ins on the first week of school- which is why I was suprised to find out that my lab section did, in fact, have a check-in session on Tuesday- and that it was quite important to attend, as it involved things like finding lab partners and checking equipment and things.

I was then further surprised (it was a fairly suprising day, but not in the wonderful way) to learn that my biochemistry 302 class (whose size I don’t quite know, but it must be large, seeing as it’s in Wood 2) actually received a 1.5 hour lecture on the very first day. It struck me as being fairly inconsiderate of students who were volunteering on behalf of the university, and who were being thanked by the administration for helping out with Imagine. After all, the first day of orientations could not run without the help of students. Covering actual information during the first class on Imagine day only discourages students from participating in orientations, as it creates inconveniences for when you come to the next class and spend another 1.5 hours being confused about what the prof is saying because you weren’t there last time. Perhaps it’s my biassed sampling, but students I know/have asked about the matter have all talked about not wanting to fall behind during the very first day of school. Of course, it’s only one class, and it’s not all that hard to catch up, but creating barriers to involvement certainly isn’t helpful in recruiting students to participate in things like Imagine.

So what is my proposed solution? I would advocate that the University should cancel classes on the first day for all students in 2nd year and up (at least in undergraduate programs). I envision this dealing with several issues at once. First of all, it would mean that Imagine volunteers wouldn’t have to worry about missing any important information presented in the first class. Secondly, I see it actually easing the work of Imagine coordinators. I know there’s always a big fuss about trying to find classrooms and spaces in which to run the student success workshops, and there’s sometimes a bit of a problem when it comes to showing first years their class locations. Not to mention trying to get through crowds of students on campus without losing doe-eyed (or not) some of your MUG group. And for those of you who couldn’t care less- you get an extra day of vacation! So while I understand that some professors are worried about getting through all of the curriculum, and the tight schedules, and so on, I don’t think that one day makes all that big of a difference- so I think that everyone (or at least all students) wins.


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