By Mayya Al Ogaily
LAU Tribune staff
She finishes her class at 11 a.m. on Monday and, instead of going out with friends for lunch, Reem Bazzi, a biology sophomore, leaves campus in a rush to get home. As she arrives, she heads right to her room, ties up her long brown hair and disappears behind closed doors until evening.
Bazzi, like many other students at LAU, is taking 18 credits this semester. The overwhelming amount of studying she has to do every day keeps her locked up for hours with barely any chance to enjoy any personal time.
Bazzi decided to take six courses because she wants a taste of the upcoming pressure of being a medicine student. But she now believes it was the wrong choice.
“I really regret doing that,” Bazzi said. “I’m taking two very hard major courses, along with electives and minor courses in psychology. I literally have no time to do anything.”
In a survey conducted by The Tribune, a whopping 50 percent of the 75 students interviewed said they are taking 18 credits this spring. Most find themselves struggling by the end of the semester, trying to balance between all course requirements.
Mona Knio, adviser and chairperson of the communication arts department, says that students are “doing themselves wrong by taking an overload of credits.”
Many students take 18 credits to save up on their tuition fees as the credits registered beyond the first 12 are free of charge. But, as Knio says, many end up dropping a course or even two, wasting the money they wanted to save up in the first place.
“Students tend to miscalculate when taking too much credits and they end up dropping a course in most cases,” Knio said. “Students should know exactly what their potentials are and how many courses they can cope with before overloading themselves with extra credits.”
Unable to balance between her two heavy major courses and other classes, Bazzi ended up dropping one.
Nabelah A. Haraty, instructor of oral communication and English at LAU, agreed with Knio that students’ performance drops significantly as the amount of credits they take increases.
She also thinks that the policy allowing students to take up to 18 credits, six of which are free of charge, should be changed.
“Students are becoming less responsible,” Haraty said. “They take too many courses and they drop very easily when they can’t handle it anymore because they know it’s for free.”
Mahmoud Natout, a psychology instructor at LAU, says that, for a college student who has to manage course requirements and private life, a load that exceeds 12 to 15 credits can become unmanageable –leading the student to deal with the stress in a negative way.
“With more credits taken, things can spiral out of control,” Natout said. “When you don’t do well on a course, that could spill over to the next course because you feel like things are getting out of your control.”
“That feeling affects your attitude toward all your other courses,” he added. “Little by little, this also affects all the other aspects of your life, eventually leading to extreme stress.”
Natout said that many students tend to deal with stress in negative ways, including avoidance or other defense mechanisms that only make the situation worse.
Bazzi said that, in the first week of May alone, she has exams on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday –all in a row.
“Throughout my weekends during April, I had to stay home and study while half of my family were enjoying themselves at the beach,” Bazzi said. “When you’re taking all these courses, you don’t even have time to step outside your home.”
Nael Al Shatti, a pre-med sophomore student, also thinks he has made the wrong choice when he took 18 credits.
Al Shatti said that he had to take this amount of credits to make up for the credits he missed last semester.
“It’s harder than I thought, I have absolutely no time for anything,” Al Shatti said. “I used to go out all the time last semester and now I only get to hang out with friends every other weekend if I’m lucky.”
Bazzi knows exactly what Al Shatti is talking about. She vowed never to take 18 credits again. “No way! I wouldn’t do this to myself again,” she said.
A communication arts senior, who preferred not to mention her name, said that taking 18 credits this semester was a mistake she made.
The student, who works as she studies, said that she failed to distribute her credits evenly throughout the years she spent at LAU –which caused her to be burdened with too many credits in her last semester.
“It was a stupid idea,” the student admitted. “Everybody, including my advisor, told me not to take this much credits but I refused to listen because I wanted to graduate, and now I’m overwhelmed with stress.”
The student, whose grades usually varied between As and Bs, said that the latest grades she got on her exams this semester were two Ds, one C and a B-.
“I shouldn’t have taken 18 credits all at once, in my last semester,” the student said. “I don’t think anyone should.”