By: Virginia C. Cornett
I’ll start this out by telling you that I’m somewhat of a “non-traditional” student, which means that I didn’t start my graduate degree straight out of undergrad: I waited about 15 years. So that means that, of course, I’m a bit older than most of the students here at FIU. It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time. I have the life experience and wisdom to apply myself to my studies and to prioritize my tasks to accomplish the most in the least amount of time, which is a blessing.
The curse is that being older places me closer to the age category of most of my fellow students’ parents and somewhat sets me apart from my peers. I’m stuck right in between the Baby Boom generation and Generation X. So, I look at my fellow students half as a colleague and half as a parent. Most of the time, I feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, so when I walk through Graham Center during lunchtime, one half of me is excited to see students hanging out and hip-hop music blaring – students having fun. The other half, however, is just plain annoyed.
So how do I propose we balance this? I think that my quest for balance starts with a little compromise on the part of the FIU and GC administration and the students themselves. It’s certainly neither fair nor appealing to have the student center a sterile, dreary dungeon.
At the same time, though, neither is the near nightclub scene that takes place every other day there. I think that kind of atmosphere reflects poorly on FIU and the student body in general.
If, when I was visiting schools to decide which one to attend, I had come to FIU on a day when “Club FIU” was in full swing, I may not have given this school any serious consideration. FIU is a university, a place of higher learning.
The scene at the pit does not encourage growth and maturity in the student body but instead keeps it in a high school “party mode.”
I’m not saying we can’t have fun and get away from our studies, but, as with most things, we should do so in moderation. The first thing we need to change is the music itself. It’s always the same type and always at ear-splitting volume levels.
We need variety of music that can appeal to all types of students – something more conducive to an academic environment. Either way, it shouldn’t be played so loudly that you can feel the bass shaking your internal organs and the treble devastating your eardrums.
There have been occasions when I have taken my books outside to enjoy the sunshine while studying and could literally hear every word, note, and monotonous thumping beat of the music playing in the Graham Center Pit; which is ridiculous when you consider that I was sitting all the way over by Chemistry and Physics building.
After all of this, I feel like all that’s left to say is the proverbial threat “If I have to pull this car over,” but seriously, putting my, shall I say parental tendencies aside, the GC atmosphere does need to change.
It should be a place to take a relaxing break or eat a pleasant lunch with friends.
I shouldn’t feel like I need to show my ID to bouncers, pay a cover charge and get a hand stamp when I come through the doors.
Students need to be exposed to new things–broaden their horizons.
While you can’t force feed culture to someone, you can at least set it out on the table and make it available.
So let’s try to bring FIU up to the levels and standards of other universities in the country not strive to be the best place to get your groove on during class break.