Dear Thresher,

My professor assigns several times more hours of work than she is supposed to for one of my courses – is there anything I can do about this, or should I just suck it up?


How Much is Too Much?


As an undergraduate student at Rice, you know many things like how many laps are in Beer Bike or which servery personnel will forgive you for forgetting your ID card in your room. What you do not know is how to teach a university-level class. In fact, that is why we pay to go to school here. I don't know what "more work than she is supposed to" means, but I am pretty sure the amount of work your professor should assign is up to her.

That being said, I can tell from your question that it is very likely that your primary goal at this school is not learning. Plenty of us are in it for the GPA. Your professors might have the right to assign whatever they want, but that doesn't mean you need to like it. First, ask yourself why you are taking this class. Can you substitute it for another? Is it for fun? Because if so, recognize that no class will ever be fun, and get out now. If you have to take the class, then you should analyze your options. What does your teacher say about collaboration? If possible, you should form a study group with the smartest and most ambitious kids. Buy them food, and I am sure that for this small act, they will be more than happy to greatly reduce your overall workload.

Finally, look at the syllabus and prioritize. Since there is so much work, one assignment cannot define your group. Of course, you could instead just do the work assigned, learn the subject matter and hopefully come to appreciated the work as something meaningful.



First off, this situation is unfortunate. I think every student at Rice University would probably agree with you about that. While I understand that some classes do count for more credit hours than others, those differing credit-hour assignments do not necessarily indicate differing amounts of work — professors seem to vary the amount of work for specific courses simply because they want to, and workloads even vary among professors teaching the same courses.

In the case that everyone taking the class agrees that the workload is unreasonable, the best thing to do would be to ask your professor whether she realizes how long all her assignments are taking. Regardless of whetheror not she changes the workload, you need to talk to her. She may be able to give you some inside information that will help you stick it out; after all, maybe she knows that the workload will get much lighter later in the semester.

If you are the only one who is spending an inordinate amount of time on the work for this course, you need to put the amazing academic resources we have at Rice to use. Talk to a peer academic advisor, academic fellow, resident associate, master, teaching assistant or even your professor. They should be able to help you both with the coursework and with your study habits, if need be. and above all else, consider whether you like the course. If you don't, maybe dropping it is the best option, but if you do, all the extra work is probably worth it.