CAE requirement should be changed

By Mykah Briscoe | Reporter

Going into my last semester of college, I am experiencing the usual stress: making sure my classes are in order, taking graduation photos and accepting the fact that I am about to be launched into the real world.

But, as a student in the College of Arts & Sciences, I have another unique thing to stress about: completing my Creative Arts Experience requirement.

This should not be the case. In college, we are busy enough with classes, homework, jobs and just trying to navigate life. We do not need another requirement on top of all of that — especially one as particular as what is expected.

The College of Arts & Sciences requires its students to earn 12 CAE credits to graduate. It is also not just 12 credits in general. No, you have to attend at least two of each category: film, music, theater, art and literature or world cultures. Also, you must attend all of them at Baylor.

I do not have the time to constantly try to figure out which experience fits in my schedule without completely expending what little energy I have left. I also do not want to be required to spend money to fulfill a requirement, like I have to in order to go to a theater performance.

I can understand why Baylor would make it a requirement, but the extent to which it has been taken is too much. If Baylor is set on keeping the requirement, it needs to amend it. Requiring attendance at one from each category or having a lower total number would be much more realistic. Baylor needs to consider all varieties of students and the impact this kind of requirement has on them.

Some students study abroad, losing a whole semester to be able to work toward the credits. Some students change majors, join the college and are immediately behind. Some students have a low social battery and are already struggling to keep their energy up. It is incredibly hard to be a college student, and that needs to be considered.

Students are expected to do full course hours, get all As, be active in on-campus activities such as Greek Life or a student organization, have a social life, maintain relationships, plan for the future and work a job.

Adding another requirement that is not a part of our courses is adding more fuel to student burnout, no matter how small the requirement may seem. It is busy work, and it is not fair.

It should be students’ personal responsibility to challenge themselves to attend these events on their own time — not in order to graduate.

If anything, it makes the event even less appealing, and students are predisposed to not enjoy it because they are there for a requirement. You try your best to enjoy the performance, but there is a little thought in your head that you are here not because you want to be but because you have to be, and you cannot shake the thought of everything else you need to do.

One could argue that being behind on credits is due to poor time management, but I shouldn’t have to make it a priority to go watch a movie on campus when I have other requirements that have a severe impact.

I say all of this as a person who loves the arts. I agree they deserve more appreciation, especially from students. But making it a requirement in order to graduate is going too far.

Here I am, about to enter my second semester of senior year — my final semester of college ever — and I am stressed about the 11 CAE credits I need to graduate. Unless the College of Arts & Sciences makes a change, I guess you will be seeing me on campus a lot next semester.