By ETHAN SMITH
Nexus Credit. These words often send chills down the spines of students, most often in seniors struggling to meet the criteria before they graduate. A lot of students view the Nexus requirement as a hassle. For the most part, however, I do not have a problem with the school requiring students to attend events that expose them to the arts and other beneficial presentations. I want to be able to say that I graduated from a school that produces cultured, well-rounded students (even if not all of us were rounded or cultured willingly). However, I do not think that the Nexus program is structured in a way that most efficiently accomplishes its intended goal.
If I’m not mistaken, the purpose of the program is to expose students to a multitude of arts, ideas and career paths. If you take the time to look on the school’s Nexus calendar, you’ll see all manner of events in the short time before finals: worship services, Noh student recitals, Hip-hop listening party and a discussion on the death penalty in Kentucky. These events are geared toward expanding our minds and encouraging students to explore new avenues that they find interesting. However, I believe that some of our Nexus policies defeat the purpose of the program itself. I, for example, enjoy theatre. I am not majoring in theatre, but I have participated in almost every play or film the department has produced since my freshman year. For each play the cast members were in, they received one CEP/Nexus credit. For the school’s most recent play, the cast rehearsed an average of three hours a day, five days a week, for about eight weeks. That adds up to about 120 hours of work, which does not account for memorization and practice outside of formal rehearsals. We helped build and paint the set, and some cast members learned The Jitterbug dance for their roles. Because the director requested flex credit, the cast and crew were able to receive three Nexus credits. Had he not made the effort to do so, we would have received one credit for 120 hours of work and six performances. A student who went to see the show once would have received the same amount of Nexus credit as the students who rehearsed eight weeks and performed the show over two weekends. I’ve talked with students in the opera who exert similar time commitments and involvement, and I believe they only received one Nexus credit for their involvement. As a person who has both watched plays and been a part of plays, I can say they do not have the same value. A student who watches a play does not receive the same enrichment as a student who performs in a play. The way we award Nexus credit says otherwise.
However, this policy only affects a small portion of the student body. Another shortcoming that I find even more ridiculous is the Nexus credits that are awarded to students who study abroad. Every year Georgetown College sends students all around the world. This past spring I studied in England for about five months. I worked under a different education system, lived under another government, saw amazing architecture and visited great cities. My experience abroad was not abnormal. I’ve known students who traveled to Mexico, South America, China and other countries who come back talking about the life changing experience they had. For this, we receive six Nexus credits. What this says is that going to six Nexus events on Tuesdays for a total of six or seven hours of involvement is just as culturally enriching as living in a foreign country for four months. I disagree.
Not only does this seem unfair, but studying abroad makes it harder to fulfill the Nexus requirements to graduate. Since you’re abroad, you really cannot get more than six credits while you’re away. So if you get behind on your credits, studying abroad makes it harder to graduate. This might act as an incentive to not study abroad, which is self-defeating since studying abroad seems to embody the spirit of the Nexus program. If cultural enrichment is a goal of the Nexus program, the school should make participation in things like theatre, music and studying abroad easier instead of harder.