A “cruise course” is a class that students can take to get an easy A, according to an article by the Huffington Post. While the grade can certainly boost up a GPA favorably, it doesn’t necessarily help a student’s future career.
Everybody has to feel a little bit of pain to feel success,” Director of Plattsburgh State Career Development Center Julia Overton-Healy said.
Overton-Healy said students who want to go into the workforce after graduation should know what employers are looking for.
“Grades matter, yes. But what employers want on the top of their list, every single time is not necessarily a great GPA. They want people with relevant experience,” she said.
PSUC psychology major and sophomore Kate Breslin said she’s never added an “easy” class to simply boost her GPA up.
She said she’s taken some harder classes like bio-psychology, which required extensive memorization and tough medical-based terminology. She said she tries her best to overcome the harder classes.
“I seek help if I need it. There are challenging classes, but I just try to muddle through it,” Breslin said.
Breslin plans on becoming a psychiatrist and said she has to remind herself that her courses will lead to getting her medical degree.
“I kind of just remind myself, ‘This is stuff you’re going to use in the future. This is stuff you need to memorize,’ and it kind of drives me to want to do better in that class no matter how difficult it is because in the end, it’s going to benefit me,”she said.
Breslin said that even though she’s never taken an easier workload, she knows people who do take easier classes in order to balance out their schedules.
PSUC sophomore communications disorders major Mary Mensah said she did take a movement studies course because her GPA had suffered from her workload last semester. Mensah said that when she was struggling with how to study, she would set up study times with friends and visit the PSUC Learning Center.
Mensah said the movements course will be fun, and she thinks she can get an A in the class. She also said it would lighten her workload for this semester after taking on too much in her previous semester.
“ It’ll be fun, but I can also get an A in that class. Some of my other classes are really hard,” Mensah said.
Overton-Healy said sometimes it’s good to relax a little bit, and it’s important for students to achieve that balance with their lives.
“Understand, though, that some students might see a course as “easy” and another person might find especially challenging and rigorous,” she said.
She said to say a particular category of classes are ‘easy’ or overly simplistic can be insulting to those who find it challenging.
Overton-Healy said the second thing employers look for is great communication skills.
“That includes writing, public speaking, sitting across the table from each other and making eye-contact,” she said. “Employers want communication skills and you get that by being exposed to a wide variety of people. That’s through internships.”
Forty-three percent of college experts agreed that getting an internship was the best way to master the communication skills before graduation in a study by the College Investigator, an investing and finance site for college students. Overton-Healy said seniors should be job hunting now and should be coming into the CDC to understand their future options.
“If they’re not starting now, they’re already behind,” she said.
“The national average for most bachelor’s degree students graduating and finding a job is six months.”
While some students opt to take the structured classes from their degree works, others decide to take an easier course to balance out their schedules. That being said, Overton-Healy encourages students to also consider the third aspect employers look for, which is leadership. She said employers want students who have initiative and who can see when something needs to be done and do it.
She said that’s the problem with the education system, as students typically wait to be told what to do and are given models of what good projects look like.
“And then you regurgitate that throughout the semester,” she said. “We don’t really teach students how to have proactive initiative.”
Overton-Healy said experience is gained when working with difficult people, managing programs or even risk assessment. She said students get this through jobs and internships.
“And if it’s always so called ‘easy’, how worthwhile is success?” Overton-Healy said.
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