As a self-proclaimed pre- med student, I am surely not unfamiliar with the term “weeder class.” However, if you have had the luxury of not experiencing one, or simply are unaware, I will sum it up for you. A weeder class is a course, usually a prerequisite, that is known to have a high drop out rate or causes students to reconsider their major or career path. These courses are designed to be an academic hunger games. The best of the best survive and move on while the rest are left behind to find a new life path. The ideas in Menand’s Theory one are apparent through all aspects of these courses. According to Menand’s theory, college is meant to be “a four year intelligence test.” The courses one takes are meant to test their intelligence so he or she can be sorted based on his or her ability. In my life, these weeder classes do exactly that.
The University of Michigan is no stranger to providing rigorous courses. Many students enter their freshman year with a pan to become a doctor, engineer, or hopefully be admitted to the business school. It is not until they have failed their first exam, acquired test anxiety, or have experienced one too many breakdowns that they realize they may be on the wrong path. Sakib Jabbar, a writer for Uloop, one of the university’s news sources, explains his experience with the prevalence of weeder classes on campus. In his article, he describes the competition that takes place in order to set the curve and receive the best marks. His description directly correlates with Menand’s first theory where “all that matter is the grades.” It is obvious of the prevalence Menand’s theory has on college today, but does it stop after graduation?
In this day in age, the market for high paying jobs is becoming more and more competitive. In addition, the competition for admittance in the graduate programs necessary to obtain these high paying jobs has also heightened. It seems as though Menand’s theory is going beyond the lecture hall and into the professional world. As if one’s entire life is becoming an intelligence test, opposed the four years Menand has suggested in his article. Not only does one have to compete in high to gain acceptance to a good university, as well as triumph through the obstacles, such as weeder classes in college, but now they must also compete for spots in graduate programs and jobs.
If one is on the pre-med track, such as myself, he or she will not only have to be accepted to medical school, which currently has a 43.1% acceptance rate according to DoctorShadow.com, but also gain acceptance to a residence program based on a ranking method between the students and the programs. Even after becoming an m.d. each person is still required to continue with testing throughout their life in the profession in order to stay licensed. This is just one example of how Menand’s first theory is being applied to situation beyond college.
In my life, as is the same with the lives of thousands of me peers; Menand’s first theory may seem inescapable. Although I believe that his theory is necessary for some professions, I do question if it is healthy for one to be under that the stress of competition for such long periods of time. I personally am already looking at other career options, despite my passion for health care and helping people. Menand’s first theory has a huge prevalence in my life, and I currently find myself choosing between two paths: one where I am forced to persevere and overcome the obstacles in order to fulfill my dreams, and another where I find a new passion and preserve my mental and emotional sanity.