California State University Long Beach (CSULB) is charging a high price for “tuition”. In Germany I found it difficult to understand why one had to pay the outrageous amount of $ 5700 (about 4200 €) tuition fees. However, the first few days on campus showed me what my money is being spent on: The CSULB is blooming! Despite heat warnings and the ban on sprinkling your lawn, the grass here is greener than anywhere else, the palm trees more manicured than in any city park and the flowers in the Japanese garden (yes, we have a Japanese garden), more beautiful than you can find anywhere in Japan could. Of course that costs. Every day more than 50 employees work on the look of the university alone – and as we know from America, the “appearance” is more than “being”.
The semester is slowly coming to an end and university life has long since become part of everyday life. After the midterms, the final exams are on the agenda. Many of my American classmates shudder at it. The “internationals”, like me, take it easy. “The main thing is to pass” is the motto, and I learned myself that a good horse only jumps as high as it has to, even though I’m actually quite ambitious at home. During the first few weeks at CSULB, I really did my best. Every evening, before my media history class, I would take the book and see what we would do the next day. Then I was able to have a say, advance the discussion and ask further questions. The weekly tests were accordingly good: 100% (A) on average. I was really proud of myself.
Then the parties came, I forgot the book the day before and sometimes nodded away in a lecture. But the good grades remained. It was 90% instead of 100%, but that’s still enough. Especially if you haven’t done anything for it.
Where does that come from? Certainly not because I’m such a mastermind. The answer is pretty simple: multiple chioce. “What happened at the Boston Tea Party?” A) tea was drunk b) France launched an invasion c) Due to the Seven Years’ War in Europe, the state coffers of Great Britain were so heavily burdened that they imposed high taxes on the American colonies, which is why dump these three loads of tea into the harbor off Boston. You’d like to think that the good grades are just thrown after you, well, after all, we paid for it – and not a little. But still there are still some Americans who like to tick the box at a).
Another example is my TV Studio Directing class. The big films are filmed here in Hollywood. Steven Spielberg went to my university. In retrospect, he even sponsored us a studio. Everyone in my directing class wants to become a director. I just slipped in here as a journalist, but it’s still a super exciting field and I like going to class. The best thing about the class is that we don’t write any exams. We shoot music videos, game shows, late-night shows, soap operas and talk shows – really cool things.
But last Monday we really screwed it up. My fellow students and I had three weeks to look for actors for a soap opera, write a script, develop a shooting schedule and set up a set. In a nutshell: We didn’t make it and our professor called us “the worst class I ever had!” Dejected, we all went to our campus pub for one or two beers (yes, we have a pub and restaurant on campus). “If I don’t get an A in this course, I’ll go back to our professor and talk to him,” says my friend Courtney. “I only took this course because I was told everyone gets an A!” Adds Marianne. Somehow I had already thought of something like that. After all, my professor doesn’t even know my name (on good days he calls me “German girl”) … how can he rate me then? So standard grades. And word has already got around that they have always been the same since 1949, the year the CSULB was founded. So it happens, as it had to: On the next Monday we go back to our TV studio like mangy dogs who know that they have done something wrong, and with their heads hanging down again. The professor greets us with a rather relaxed expression: “Well, you still have a chance. I give you an easy task. If you can do that, everyone gets an A ”. how it had to happen: The next Monday we go back to our TV studio like mangy dogs who know that they have done something wrong, and with their heads hanging down again. The professor greets us with a rather relaxed expression: “Well, you still have a chance. I give you an easy task. If you can do that, everyone gets an A ”. how it had to happen: The next Monday we go back to our TV studio like mangy dogs who know that they have done something wrong, and with their heads hanging down again. The professor greets us with a rather relaxed expression: “Well, you still have a chance. I give you an easy task. If you can do that, everyone gets an A ”.
Of course we did it, after all it would be a shame for our professor and his course if someone failed. What kind of light would that shed on him? And at the university? So he can now claim that his education is so excellent that he only has A-1 students. The university can say that only the best TV directors leave the CSULB. And I can say that I could make myself a pretty tepid salmon for 4200 € and still pass 100% in every subject.