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Seth L. Ewing: Hail to spring semester

Seth Ewing
Seth Ewing

You are most likely aware that President Obama's inauguration went off without a hitch Tuesday.

Not only is he our first black president, but coincidently inauguration was a day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Revelry aside, I think that the Merced community should be aware that the first day of the spring semester was also Tuesday. A scheduling that is in my opinion a complete disaster. Now, don't get me wrong -- I am grateful for the long Christmas break.

What upsets me is that on this historic day the powers-that-be who control Merced College could not give just one more day in the vacation to include what quite possibly may be the most important day in our modern history.

Now my skeptics will argue that as a college student, I am paying to go to school and that it is my personal choice to attend. While this is true, it is a lot more nuanced than just "a personal choice."

The reality is if I don't go to school, I won't pass, and if I don't pass, I'll never get transferred to a university and then I'll never get that high-paying job and marry Miss America.

You get the picture. Now it is true that I am going because I choose to and that children attending high school and grade school who have no choice already started school a couple of weeks ago. But they got to slack off at school and watch the inauguration on classroom televisions and in the school theater.

Students of Merced College were subjected to the first day of class.

I am going to assume that we have all been to school and that it is common knowledge that no one learns anything of value on the first day of school. Instead, the first day of class is reserved for the teacher to repeat the same rules you have been disregarding since kindergarten while you slouch in your seat, pick your nose and stare at chicks.

You don't just jump into your textbooks receiving intellectual enlightenment on the first day.

In fact, you do not even know what the title of the textbook is because you haven't received the course syllabus yet.

I won't hide the fact that responsible students conduct research during the holiday break on the Internet to find and acquire their textbooks. I know this because I am currently trying to unload a $100 math book. (Anybody want a 1.5-pound, seldom-opened text?) But if you are anything like me, you spent your holidays gambling in Las Vegas. The G.I. Bill doesn't pay for everything.

This has not been the first time when the powers-that-be denied a day off, much to the dismay of students and faculty. I am referring to the day before Thanksgiving that was also denied as a holiday.

Apparently, it was perfectly appropriate to travel on Thanksgiving Day, according to our infallible leaders at Merced College.

Then again, I am but an ignorant student, and I'm sure there was a very important reason that we were given an opportunity to play mass hooky. I am not saying that students and faculty did play hooky, because in the U.S. we are innocent until proven guilty.

But you get the picture.

It seems to me that we never had scheduling issues when the "old" dean was in charge. But since we got the "new" dean in the fall semester, we have had some fairly wacky disputes.

For example, there was no time allowed in the schedule for students to walk to their next class from the previous one. This would be an easy problem to fix if the professors were permitted to release students early, but that was against the rules.

It has changed this spring semester, and there is now time for students to walk.

Instead of going to the old method that worked well, however, we now have a bizarre schedule with classes starting at such random times as 10:45 and 12:20.

The new dean, like other tyrants I had the pleasure of serving under in the Army, is making decrees to exert his authority; not to improve anything -- just to remind his subordinates that he is in charge. The old guy was a weakling, and now he rules with an iron fist.

If only Merced College was so lucky as to have a leader who embraced the ideas of hope and change as our new president does.

While the rest of the Free World celebrated, we were being lectured about turning off our cell phones before class. Most students will just have to watch the inauguration highlights on YouTube if they wish to see what they missed.

I know I will.

Specialist Seth L. Ewing is an Army combat veteran of two tours in Iraq. He now studies journalism at Merced College.