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Thoughts from around campus: Essays and tests, Emma Watson’s advocacy, study music and rolling backpacks

Tests are better assessments than essays

How many students have pulled an all-nighter finishing a paper? How about studying for an exam? University and procrastination does that to the best of us. But which is worse?

On the morning of the last day of classes, I’d much rather face off with a heaping pile of lecture notes than a blank word document. There’s no comparison. Sure, cramming for a test might involve making a futile attempt to consolidate a large amount of information in a short period of time. But that’s nothing compared to having to collect and present all that information myself — which is exactly what I would have to do if I were writing a paper.

In general, tests are better than papers because all you need to do is study the material. After years of practice, your brain will have mastered these skills and can pull out information during exams that you didn’t even know you knew. And if the test is multiple choice, you can use your best guessing skills to do okay!
On the other hand, when you find yourself scrambling to finish writing a paper last minute, you can’t call it quits until the assignment is complete. I’m much happier nowadays because my degree favours tests over papers as a form of assessment.

Jill Girgulis


Essays show students’ skills more than tests

Based on my experience in university, if you invest time and energy into writing a decent essay, chances are you’ll get a decent mark. Essays allow professors to gauge students’ understanding of course material and allow students to show off their critical thinking skills more so than multiple choice exams. Tests are more reflective of students’ ability to memorize facts. When studying for tests, students don’t know what will be tested until they sit down and see all the questions, which can lead to unexpected material coming up. At least with essays, the guidelines are clear. Students either have the freedom to choose their topic or are directed to a specific topic. Then it’s up to the student to decide how much effort they put in. Writing an essay also allows the students to demonstrate their thought process to their professor, allowing the prof to more accurately pinpoint what students aren’t understanding in the material — something that is missing from a machine marking a Scantron sheet.

Nikayla Goddard


Emma Watson does not effectively advocate for sustainability

I know this won’t be a popular opinion, but I dislike Emma Watson. As someone who has been passionate about environmental issues for my entire life, I find her sustainability efforts self-serving. While her interest in sustainable fashion can be seen as a step in the right direction within the show-business community, it does nothing to help the planet. By itemizing her outfits on her Instagram account in a Vogue-esque style and wearing pieces that cost over $1,000, she presents sustainable fashion as exclusive to the rich. Instead, she could take advantage of her huge following to encourage supporting organizations that create clothing that is affordable for the masses. It’s unlikely a teenaged Watson fan has the means to spend $250 on a new shirt, but they may be able to afford an extra $15 on an item locally made of eco-friendly materials.

Also, don’t even get me started on how Emma Watson brags about taking multiple baths each day when there are water shortages occurring across the globe.

Mariah Wilson


Rolling backpacks are menaces to society

People should be allowed to wear whatever they want. People can express themselves through their clothing unless it somehow impedes someone else.

But with every rule, there is always an exception. In this case, it’s those god-forsaken rolling backpacks. These backpacks look like the suitcases you drag through the airport, except instead of carrying clothes and toiletries, they hold stuff people are perfectly capable of carrying on their backs.

These backpacks are a tripping hazard and take up valuable space in crowded hallways. There is no good reason for a student to spend extra money on a rolling backpack instead of carrying a classic knapsack or tote bag. If you carry one of these bags, please stop willfully tripping people and being annoying.

Jesse Stilwell


How to pick the best study music

In April it can be difficult to focus on studying. Sometimes all you need to get back into it, is a change of sonic scenery. Listening to the right study music can make or break a study session. Here’s what to look for in academically stimulating tunes:

The best study music is instrumental. Having lyrics playing in your ears is no different than sitting beside some inconsiderate loud-mouths on one of the TFDL’s quiet floors. Instrumental songs help you stay focused on your material and nothing else. This is part of the reason that classical music is often recommended, although almost any genre has its share of instrumental songs.

If you’re listening to music that’s riddled with key changes, it can throw you off your intellectual groove. A nice ambient track can almost hypnotize you into boosting your word count or finishing off your assignment. Try playing a chill hip-hop beat mix and you’ll see what I mean.

You can also find tunes with themes that go along with your work. Writing a history paper about the Napoleonic wars? Throw on Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Working on a lab report? Throw on some sci-fi inspired synth-pop. If you can find music that complements what you’re studying you’ll find yourself more engaged and less likely to catch yourself staring out the window, fantasizing about dropping out and starting your own tie-dyed clothing line.

— Kayle Vant’Klooster

Articles published in the Gauntlet‘s opinion section do not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board.

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