By Ryan Fitzgerald – Co-Editor-in-Chief
Symposium can be a lot of different things. It can be a day of gratitude for some, having accomplished a semester-long project to present in front of admiring peers, faculty, and community members alike. For others it is a day of relief. After months of planning, the day has finally come where everything falls into place and many congratulations are given. And to many students at Lasell, particiularly underclassmen, Symposium day proves to be only a day off.
When first told of Symposium, most freshmen and even some sophomores see a day with no classes, meaning a great time to sleep in and do whatever you want. I think it is not until a student’s junior year where they may begin to see actual importance in the day. Junior year is when many students are required to present at Symposium and senior year most students must showcase some form of work.
Although many underclassmen may have no reason to attend Symposium, many professors require their students to go and write about a presentation they learned about while there. This is often unnecessary. What are these students really getting out of the experience? In some cases, students won’t even attend a showcase, but rather know someone who presented, text them and ask them what it was about, and write something short.
Underclassmen also have a fair amount of work to do themselves. Adding this mandatory Symposium attendance is just more tedious work and time taken that they could be using toward a final assignment.
This doesn’t only apply to underclassmen. Many upperclassmen receive these mandatory attendances from professors when they could be using this time toward something more beneficiaI during finals. Often upperclassmen are already presenting their own showcase at Symposium anyway. I understand there are a lot of great presentations on this day, but they may not apply to all students.
Symposium is advertised as a way for students to present the creative work they have completed over the semester. While creativity can be there, Symposium presentations often follow strict guidelines from professors. Guidelines are needed when doing a project, but it can make creativity not as easily expressible by students. It’s often the case that students are forced into the presentation as a requirement for the class whether they find it beneficial or not.
I think Symposium is more of an upperclassmen event. It is meant for students to show what they have worked on over their three or four years at Lasell and really doesn’t do much for underclassmen. Underclassmen should not have to attend Symposium for a class and they should focus on their current studies (even though that’s not what they may use the day for).
It’s just tedious to make students attend Symposium for something they won’t remember or even attend. For now, leave symposium to the upperclassmen.