As I sat in class on Monday, I began to ponder the differences between my classmates and me (probably because I was bored and the differences were right there in front of me). Well, really, the differences between adult students (who I’ll define as those 30 and older) and regular/younger college students (first time students). It becomes obvious sitting in a college class with a mix of these two types of students that wisdom, and perhaps even appreciation, comes with age. Some of the differences I’ve noticed…
Class is scheduled to start at 6 PM. Adult students typically show up no later than 5:45. Regular students show up anywhere from 5:45 to 6:45. Not only can I not comprehend arriving late for the first day of class, but I can’t understand being consistently late to every subsequent class. I also can’t comprehend being over, say, 15 minutes late. 45 minutes is absolutely ridiculous and disrespectful to me. At that point, you’re not only wasting the instructor’s time, but you’re wasting your classmates’ time as well, because class is disrupted when you walk in late. To continue obliviously along your path of rudeness by proceeding to ask questions to get yourself caught up is likely to earn you the death stare from the likes of me. Not that you care, because apparently the world revolves around you.
(It should be noted that good professors don’t indulge the attempt by late students to catch up, but it’s still frustrating and annoying.)
It boggles my mind how many regular students show up to the first day of class without the appropriate materials. Some at least make the effort to bring a notebook and some sort of writing implement, but it seems to be a stretch to obtain the required textbook(s). REALLY?! It’s not that hard to find out what, if any, textbook(s) are required for class; once you have that information, the books are relatively easy to find at the college bookstore, or, if you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, online. (Boring post on procuring textbooks to come.)
There is no excuse, in my book, to be so ill prepared; especially for a class that starts the second half of the semester, meaning you had at least six weeks to procure the necessary textbook(s).
Giving Vs. Earning
When I started class on Monday, two twenty-somethings had the following exchange as we boarded the elevators and rode up to the floor our classroom was on:
Brah: “Hey, dude, weren’t you in my art class?!”
Dude: “Yeah, brah, what’s up?!”
Brah: “Not much. What’d you end up getting for that class?”
Dude: “He gave me a C.” (Something about 78 points.)
Brah: “Awwww, man! He couldn’t even bump you up to a B?!”
For some reason, the younger set seems to believe that grades are given. The idea that you earn them based on the amount of work you put into class and homework totally seems to elude them. They almost always seem to think that they deserve better than what they got and that they deserve to be given a break—like a high C should be bumped up to a B.
Perhaps the younger students aren’t wise enough yet to grasp the value of a dollar, or to appreciate the opportunity they have before them. If they did, perhaps they’d work harder to earn good grades, and would show up on time and prepared for that class that someone* is paying good money for. (*I say someone, because I doubt these particular students are paying for their classes. I’ve gotta believe they’d try harder and appreciate class more if they money came out of their own pockets.)
Classes are expensive! That’s why I get irritated when my class time (time = money, so also my money) is wasted. I work hard to earn the grades I want, because it’s important to me to do my best. I take school very seriously. I know what’s at stake, and I have a clear mission.
Perhaps that’s part of the problem with the younger set: They don’t appreciate what they have. They are entitled little brats, wanting everything to be done for them and feeling as though everything should be handed to them. There is an entitlement-whore epidemic in the world today! It’s very disturbing and sad.
Now, I often say: those on high horses have the furthest to fall, so it behooves (heeheehee) them to be careful. I know I’m not perfect. No one is. However, I try my best to be realistic, responsible, and respectful. The world doesn’t revolve around me, and I don't expect it to. I see and hear that there are a lot of people out there like me—frustrated and sad over the direction society seems to be taking—so I can’t be that far off base.
Mamas, forget about cowboys; don’t let your babies grow up to be self-important, entitled brats! Teach your children that anything worth having is worth working for, that they should always try their hardest/do their best, and that the world does not revolve around them. Teach them respect for others (even when they might not agree with others), compassion, empathy, humility, and selflessness. Don’t cater to their every whim, because they will grow up to expect the world to cater to them as well, and they will be sadly disappointed—possibly even destroyed—when the world throat punches them into reality.
I’m paying my hard earned money to attend classes, and I want to get my money’s worth. So you’ll excuse me if I expect my classmates to, at the very least, respect those around them. If they don’t care, or don’t want to work hard, then why bother?!
The serenity prayer comes in very handy when my irritation levels peak, and I start to lose my patience:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
I know that I cannot change my fellow classmates who just don't seem to care as much as I do. I can only change, or control, my reaction to them. It's unfortunate that they don't care, and that they proceed to waste everyone else's time; however, I need to remain focused. I have wisdom that they, apparently, do not; I know that education is priceless, and I appreciate the opportunity to attend classes. The best thing I can do is continue to work hard to earn the grades that I want and to finish my degree. Maybe someday the younger students will learn, and maybe not; I'll be too far ahead of them to know!