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Ask Colleen: No desire to do homework

October 5, 2016

Dear Colleen,

 I hate homework. I never do it. I'd rather be baiting piranhas with my toes than wasting my days away on this crap. On the rare occasion that I actually do my homework, you'll find me sitting in some obscure corner in one of these buildings frantically writing 10 minutes before class.

Why do we have to do it? By that I mean WHY IS IT REQUIRED? I pull off at least a B each semester so I'm not worried about my grades, but I feel like it's taboo if you don't do your homework. Your teacher thinks you don't care (I guess part of that is true) and people think you're a slacker. But it's not that I don't care, I just don't care about reading and writing my spare time outside of class away when I could be doing other things, things like running my organization, going to work and preparing home-cooked meals instead of surviving off of pizza rolls.

Please help me, Colleen! I either need some big inspiration to get this stuff done or a wake-up call.


No-Homework Nancy

Dear No-Homework Nancy,

First of all, I would like to say that I appreciate your use of imagery and how completely honest you are when asking for advice. When I first read this question I laughed out loud, because it reminded me of myself. I hate homework just as much as the next college student and yourself. Some weeks I survive off of pizza rolls, too. We have all been there. I honestly cannot answer why it is required, but I think that is up to each individual professor. I mean we do pay for college, so why should homework or class attendance be required? I’ll just leave it at that, because that’s another topic or a different day. Anyway, my question for you is: Do you like the classes that you are taking? How about your major?

The reason I bring this up is because maybe it isn’t about the actual homework, but the classes you are doing the homework for. To be completely honest, before I changed my major, I hated doing my homework and going to class in general. It was dreadful. I felt like it was a waste of my time and nothing could bring me to do it. It makes sense though, because why would anyone want to go to something they didn’t enjoy? When I finally changed my major I came to realize my classes could be enjoyable and I was willing to put the time into them. Right now I am in four literature classes, meaning all I do is read. Like 400 pages a weekend type of thing. That may sound horrible to any other person, but I truly love my classes, which in turn makes me want to succeed in them. Therefore, I am willing to spend five hours on a Saturday reading. I don’t want to just get a good grade, but I actually want to learn and grow as a student, which is really what is important if you ask me.

I’m not trying to scare you by saying you need to change your major, because that might not be the case. I would say trying different classes or mixing it up might help with changing your perspective on homework. I get it; in your spare time the last thing you want to do is homework. What spare time does a student actually have? Try to remember why you came to college. There was obviously something that you wanted to accomplish or a degree you wanted to obtain. It is easy to lose sight on that when you are so busy and caught up in classes, work, trying to maintain a social life, exercising and sleeping every once in awhile. When I am completely swamped and just want cry until the semester is over, I remind myself of why I came to River Falls in the first place. This gives me that little extra inspiration that gets me through the day, more importantly my homework.

Obviously, you must be doing something right if you can pull of getting B’s without doing homework. But what you said about inspiration is very important and I think this will help you with getting some of your homework done. Take classes that inspire you and that you are passionate about. Maybe it is time for a change or maybe you just need to remind yourself why you came to River Falls in the first place. Either way, once you gain this excitement back I think putting in the work outside of class will follow!

Best of luck,


Colleen Brown is a student at UW-River Falls.