By: Alayanna K. McCormick
Arguments about convocations pop up every semester from when the list comes out to those final three you have to cram into the last week. Intended to educate students in areas different from those in the classroom and in a manner that is fun and engaging, convocations add a unique flare to the experience at TWC, and everyone seems to have a passionate opinion on the matter.
Freshman Jacob Bartell says, “They’re a great way to integrate into college life, to get involved on campus.” He is a commuter, and, like many who are, he sees the mandate as a way to force him to put down the books and do something beyond his core classes. They also offer a way for those who live off-campus to still be engaged and active in the TWC community, which may not be possible with as much ease otherwise. However, another commuter, freshman Analise McCormick, reported, “I think they should be encouraged, but you shouldn’t be penalized for not going.”
Her complaint against the ten-dollar fine required for every missed convocation is not uncommon. “Convocations are enriching to personal growth, but they can be kind of redundant. If you do not want to personally grow [in the ways convocations offer], you shouldn’t have to pay a fine,” reported freshman Nate Patterson. “Some students are already juggling a job and school.” Junior David Bryant shares this sentiment: “As a transfer student, I feel like having them is good, but requiring attendance to a certain amount adds stress to an already stressful life.” This especially can be sympathized with when one considers that most are offered during school days or on weekends, which are popular work days for students who are employed while in school.
On the other hand, TWC goes a long way to make sure that there are convocations to appeal to all. From faith-related convocations to artistic productions, it would be difficult not to find at least a couple that sound interesting. However, Analise also reported, “While there is a convocation for everyone, five is quite a lot.” Several students did report that despite the diversity of the lectures and events planned, often they are forced to attend ones that are not applicable to their life due to the minimum requirement. Many students feel the time spent attending these could be better spent studying. However, an argument could be made that attending convocations outside of your immediate interests forces students to think outside just their area of study and future goals. It makes one consider the diversity amongst the students on campus and encourages students to find hobbies or obtain skills outside of their normal activities. In turn, this could help one to build a resume someday. Businesses like to see a wide range of interests in their potential employees.
Despite resentments to the number required and penalizing fee, most students agree that the convocations offer some unique opportunities. They allow students to showcase their talent, such as when a play or music performance is approved for credit as a convocation; offer ways to work towards goals outside of, though equally important to, academics; and present a chance to widen their horizons.