College can be a lot. Your social life and school work are no longer separate entities. You spend a few hours in classes, a few hours in dining halls, a few hours doing homework, a few hours relaxing, a few hours socializing, and then — BAM! — before you know it, you lose track of what's happening in the outside world.
I don't have a TV in my dorm room, nor do I have live-in parents to report recent happenings. I've found myself getting breaking news from Facebook and Twitter, which leaves something to be desired. What I've found here at Connecticut College, though, is that there are so many professors willing to incorporate recent events into their lessons, which helps me keep in touch with the goings-on of the world.
In high school, this would rarely happen. Coming from a public school, teachers were held to very strict, state-mandated guidelines, so they had little opportunity to veer away from the syllabus. In college, we take breaks from the syllabus all the time. In my American Studies class, for example, we were emailed to keep an eye on the events unfolding in Baltimore. We then discussed Baltimore in class — not as a way to abandon the lesson plan, but as a way to draw topical events into our lessons. I also had a friend tell me about a social justice class that discussed the way that Bruce Jenner's transgender announcement has been received by the public and by the media.
Even professors of classes that aren't quite as directly related to the news will reference recent events as a way to make their classes more relevant and applicable to the real world. Professors don't just lecture us about recent events, they create a dialogue. We are prompted to find our own connections between current events and syllabus work in a collaborative setting in real time.
While the school offers many forums and events relating to recent events, it's often easy to develop tunnel vision for your own busy schedule. The inclusion of news in the classroom is both convenient and educational. It's nice to be able to take a step back and tune in to what's happening around us in the present, as opposed to letting these events pass by and learning about them as part of a history class.