Do you feel like your first two years of school have been a total blur? That might have something to do with the fact there's a good chance you didn't really retain much. According to a new study published in USA Today, college students showed no "significant" gains after two years (45% percent) while nearly 36% showed none at after four.
Now, before your parents read this and get their panties in a twist, I'd like to point out that yes, while major socializing DID play a factor in this study, in MY experience this held true for two reasons: One, I'm not a good test taker and ended up slotted into classes that were far below my intelectual capabilities (we're talking stuff I had just spent a whole year studying during my senior year in high school) and two, many of the topics were required, far too generalized and didn't cover enough information to really make me feel like I was doing anything more than rushing to memorize stuff in anticipation of tests and quizzes. It was only when I reached my junior year, selected my major, and started taking classes very specific to my interests that I was able to begin grasping and actively digesting what was being taught.
While I'm obviously not suggesting that it's OK to skip studying to go party your friends, I do think educators should take a closer look at their underclassmen requirements and start actively engaging students in a much richer course offerings. I mean, really. If you were given a chance to skip Earth Science 100 for a chance to take a real-world internship in your area of study that involved group meetings with your department each week to discuss your discoveries/problems/learning experiences, wouldn't you?