Show me yours and I'll show you mine
The environment was so cutthroat at my last school that students never bothered to ask other students for notes—unless they were desperate. They automatically knew the answer would be a sugarcoated “no.”
Hoping to start this year off differently, I gave my notes to each one of my unknown peers that asked. As the emails became more frequent, however, I increasingly became more and more aggravated.
To give notes or not give notes. It is the kind thing to do, but frankly it’s annoying to open an inbox full of poorly punctuated emails begging for notes.
It is obnoxious when fellow students try and mooch off their peers’ work because they are incapable of doing their own.
I do a substantial amount of work to achieve academic success, and by giving someone my notes, am I not enabling a stranger to receive the same mark as me without supplying any effort? It is difficult to understand how someone can be irresponsible enough not to show up to the lecture, fail to complete the readings, and then feel entitled enough to ask for notes.
I can’t speak for other programs, but as an arts major, I know good notes make the difference between a good grade and a great grade. From my experience, without notes it is nearly impossible for me to do well.
Still, I go through an internal dilemma before I click “delete” on one of those emails. Despite feeling annoyed I also feel profoundly guilty—by not giving this classmate my notes I am screwing over a fellow student.
So here is my advice to anyone, anywhere, who has or is planning to blast a peer’s inbox asking for notes. If you are truly suffering from “personal health problems” or were actually “bedridden,” then you should get registered with accessibility services. They provide students who actually have extenuating circumstances with an anonymous peer note-taking service.
Instead of sending a blast email to your whole 700-person class, at the beginning of your course make a friend, swap numbers with them, and be note-pals. If one of you has to miss a class, or is swamped and can’t do the reading, you have a backup plan.
I am not saying that everyone can make it to every class or do all the assigned readings; instead of exploiting the weird kid who actually takes notes on the readings, however, take responsibility for your own education and attempt to do them yourself.