Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sarah Says: students need to step up

How did we become a generation of doing exactly and only as much as we need to get by? I don’t remember a time in high school when I sat down to write a paper and thought “I’m going to spend as much time as needed to make this the best paper possible.” No, usually I’m still wiping sleep from my eyes and thinking “what exactly do I need to do to get credit for this paper?” the morning it’s due. My fellow students brag about how little time they spend on projects and the winner is usually the guy that did his project in his spare time the class period before it was due. Why is that? How did we become a generation that celebrates the art of procrastinating and getting by?

Depending on your mindset, you can either blame us or our teachers. You can blame our teachers if you believe it’s their job to somehow give us study skills and habits. You can blame us if you think we should have developed these study skills on our own in some way. You could even blame our parents if you think time management is their responsibility.
Personally, I’m going to blame students. We should have developed these study skills out of necessity when we were younger (you know, the same necessity of having to do homework and study for tests in order to pass a class that we have now as high schoolers). We can’t depend on someone else to teach us these skills, or we’ll drop them as soon as they stop being mandated by that authority figure (i.e. we’re screwed in college).

So, if these skills are so necessary, why don’t we just go ahead and develop them already? Well, we’re a generation of entitlement. We feel entitled to good jobs, we feel entitled to go to college if we make the grades, and, most of all, we feel entitled to live our lives as we choose (I’m not going to go into whether this feeling of entitlement is deserved). This includes using our time as we choose, and obviously we’re not going to choose to spend our time working when we could be on Twitter or updating our fantasy football team. We’ll spend hours avoiding homework laughing at stupid things like pictures of chubby Asian babies and cats on the internet. We’re not going to develop the study skills we need until our entitlement complex shifts focus to being entitled to do the best work we are capable of doing.

I’ll give you one good reason for this to happen: the real world requires it. The “real world” is a fantastic and mythical place for most of us. It’s a place where not everybody knows everyone else, people dress up every day, and you’re not going to do very well if you’re scraping by on your work. You can get by, sure, but with the cost of living going up, your entry level job isn’t going to pay for the car you want or that family you’re thinking of having. Walmart doesn’t pay enough to keep your Warcraft account funded and give you enough left over to someday move out of your parent’s basement. If you burn the burgers at McDonald’s, its probably going to get you fired.

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