Viewpoint: Class participation requirement leads to anxiety

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Rachel Mergen, Staff Reporter

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As grades are about to come out in a few weeks, many students are feeling the fear of one particular section of the syllabus: class participation. Yes, it may seem like a simple section of the grade for some, as it doesn’t include papers or exams, but for those who face anxiety, the raising of the hand may be one of the most stressful actions to take.

It is a challenge for students who fall in this category to fully reach the expectations of their teacher when it comes to this section of the grade, even if they do well in the rest of the class. 

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, forty million United States adults experience anxiety, with approximately three-fourths of these sufferers experiencing their first episode before they reach the age of 22, also known as the average graduation age at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and most other universities.

With this statistic in mind, it can be suspected that at least a large minority, if not the majority, of students on campus face some sort of life-affecting anxiety at one point in time.  

Requiring hand raising and the putting out of thoughts in front of a class may be a hit at them. Yes, some may be able to say that this requirement helps to reduce shyness, forcing people out of their safe zones, but force cannot always cure anxiety disorders. No student should feel scared to go to a class, knowing they’ll be forced to speak in front of a crowd just to keep their grade intact.  

They shouldn’t have to feel guilt for seeing a small little fraction of their grade being taken away, just because they could not force themselves to speak up. If they show up every day, pay attention, and succeed at all of their assignments in an honest way, why should their grade be affected because of the anxiety that drowns their ability to speak up? 

But, as students thank their professors for the daily anxiety, it is at least important for everyone to remember that the class participation part of the grade may just be the professor’s last hope to avoid constant awkward silence as they mentally beg for someone to answer the question. Can they really be blamed for not wanting to always answer their own questions? 

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