Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Last Word: Closing up the "One of the Guys" Posts

The energy I read in the recent posts about "One of the Guys," tells me that the prof who offered the wake-up call pressed a few buttons. Could it be that the good teacher spoke some truth that makes you uncomfortable?
  1. I'm so glad that none of you feel the need to take notes, that you get more out of listening. How's your recall? When you get to the end of the semester, having had 40 or so class lectures, will you remember the details of lecture 23? Writing down what the professor says allows you to repeat to yourself what he/she said - that means you have now entered into the realm of learning and out of the realm of television watching.
  2. You didn't read any books for your history major? Wow! There's something to proclaim to the world! You may have jumped through the hoops, passed your classes and gained your degree - but you're obviously an idiot. You, and your cohorts, have turned undergraduate education into a game of cat and mouse wondering if they'll "catch you" or "find you out." Please, grow up. The only one you are really fooling is yourself. When you seek your job later on, and they see you as or find you to be incompetent and you think, "Why didn't I read that text book then?", you'll know what I mean.
  3. You dress like a thug and you think that sleeping in everyday until 12 noon is cool and there's nothing wrong with that. Okay, sweetie, let me clue you in on a few facts. Studies are showing that schools with dress codes actually produce students who accomplish more than those that don't. The way most of my students dress, the lack of personal hygiene, and the constant struggle for some to stay awake at 12:20 in the afternoon through a 55 minute class tells me that they're not ready for adulthood. You have put your biological clocks through a tsunami because you don't have someone telling you to go to bed. You dress like a refugee and smell like...well...shit! Your self esteem is in the proverbial toilet. In a word, your pathetic appearance and demeanor tell me you don't care about your self. So, tell me, why should I care about you or give you any respect?
  4. When you finally get out to the "real world", you'll see what we've been talking about for the last four years. We professors, by the way, do live in the real world. We pay bills, have relationships, eat dinners with friends and, from time to time, have bad days. You will step out of our hallowed grounds of learning where you've been protected and enabled by this dysfunctional system and find yourself having to pay rent, meet your student loan obligations, experience a tremendous amount of loneliness in your first two years out because you won't have dorm buddies two steps away anymore, and you'll find that most people sleep at night and work during the daylight hours. You'll have to show up to work on time, limit your absences, get reports handed in on time without excuse, and be judged by your superiors more than twice a year. (Yes, there are others superior to you - no matter what your helicopter parents have told you!) You won't have time to cram. And those helicopters won't be able to fly into the office and threaten your boss to get you out of a jamb that you and your idiocy put yourself into!
  5. Finally, a little respect goes a long way. You may really detest your professor and find his class more boring than counting the number of tiles in your bedroom ceiling. Too bad! He's not there to entertain you. Class is not a video game, a porn site or a South Park episode. The prof earned her doctorate. She has worked in her field probably longer than you've been on this planet. He has something to offer you, to give you insight into your pathetic little life and, hopefully, make you a more intelligent human being. Stop the puling and posturing, stop trying to find the loopholes, stop thinking that college is hoop jumping. Get your lazy ass out of bed at a regular hour; shit, shower and shave before you come to class; buy a pen and a notebook (maybe you can give up a couple of bottles of beer over the next year to finance that purchase!); teach yourself how to write with a pen; buy the books for your courses and read them. If you're very brave, you could actually review your notes and your reading together and see if they make sense to you, write down an original question or thought to share with the class, and work out so you can lift up your arm (with your hand attached) to signal the prof that you have something worthwhile to contribute.