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 Where are the students

I have worked as a college professor, in one capacity or another, since 2011.  Until last fall, I was consistently optimistic about the progression of my skill level as an instructor, and the quality of the student population.  I imagined there would be some disconnection between the high school curriculum, and opportunities to bridge gaps in knowledge. I always want to send a new batch of students on their way to academic success.  I’m not foolish or self-important enough to believe that I will have an impact on lives of all my students, but that does not keep me from giving it a shot.

I usually inherit a room full of young people (intermingled with actual adults) who have been delivered to the higher education system fresh out of  f**ks and unbothered. Colleges are overrun with groups of young people, super confident in their skills and sorely lacking in their performance. Before you  deep breathe, slow blink, or offer an obligatory eye roll, please take a moment to recognize that this is an “in the trenches assessment” from someone close to the issue.   This does not apply to every student, but the majority of first-time students go on break prior to clocking in for work.  

Why students are failing themselves

As near as I can tell, anything adjacent to an explanation for this decline in student preparation can be categorized into three areas
  1. No one told them excuses made in high school are now void: Bottom line, no one cares that you were sick, that you were hung-over, or that you forgot that it was due. Figure it out!
  2. No one ever made sure they had adequate adult coping skills: Believe me; I understand that we love our children, however, the parade of second place prizes and pep talks ensuring them that they were still winners even though they lost just were not the answer. If you lose, you are a loser. “If you’re not first you’re last and all that sort of thing”.  It’s ok to not be the best, it builds character and determination.
  3. Life up till now has been pretty convenient: Not everyone was wealthy, got it, but most people have had access to modern conveniences.  Cell phones, computers, on-demand T.V. , have all helped to cement convenience as a custom or expectation.  The reality is that work is, well… work, or we would call it something else.  Learning is often not convenient, occasionally not easy, and never done exactly your way.
  4. Bonus reason Below:

Seriously!

So what do you do?  The only thing that I have found that combats the apathy of some student is consistency.  When students have a routine, it helps feel a measure of control over their chaos.  If all else fails, there is always scaring the shit out of them.CollegeJust kidding!! (mostly). So parents/guardians, fear not, there is hope for your spoiled little ball of raw potential.  They can come out shiny new and full of…well I am not exactly sure what they will be full of, at least they will have a set of skills.

7 comments

  1. Primary school used to be a preparatory ground for life–some people (especially underprivileged students) didn’t know whether they’d go further. So, this might very well be it. Many-not all-tried to make the most of it. Today, by middle school, it’s just a place to tread water and wait for college when they can get away from parents or pretend to be “grown” or both. Too many are entitled little gits who don’t appreciate college or the lack of it until they’re competing for wait-staff jobs with 50- year-olds. Why is that? Often it’s parents who wanted Little Johnny to have more than they had…and then, gave him too much.

    1. I really want to believe that parents are trying to correct the issue. Perhaps something is lost in translation.

  2. Unfortunately, the world we live in prides itself on not giving two *bleeps*. It’s a shame this applies to education as well. You gon learn today

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