Talking ’bout my Generation

July 23, 2008


Some (read: none) of you may remember the girl who sat directly in front of me in my political science class last session, who I oh so lovingly wanted to “punch in the face.”  Since I started my new class four weeks ago, I have rarely thought of her, thinking her a thing of the past, that is until she waltz into my new class, not 45 minutes late like I had grown to expect from her, but THREE AND A HALF WEEKS LATE! (Take note: this is only a SIX week class.) She plopped herself down and asked if she had missed anything important, as she was hoping to pick up the class. Well, I wanted to respond, only half the freakin’ class, but you obviously don’t mind too much about that. Everyone (read: the two other people who had shown up that day) assured her she had only missed some reading, and you know most of the discussions, but she would be fine. I said nothing, just silently seethed. Even my professor seemed oddly accomodating, teling her which reading to focus on to catch up, as she obviously couldn’t do all of it. (It’s a pretty reading heavy class.) 

For the next 3 hours of class, she proceeded to raise her hand every 5 to 10 minutes to ask questions that a) she would have known if she had done the reading, b) she would have known if she had been in class the past three weeks or c) had nothing to do with the scope of the class, which she would know if she had glanced at the syllabus. She basically wasted the class time of everyone who had been responsible enough to show up for the past three weeks, acting like we were all there solely to catch her up. 

On Monday, I got to class, and she wasn’t there. This wasn’t all that surprising; however, when halfway through the class, she still hadn’t shown up, I assumed she had dropped the class. I’m not going to lie: I was a little too excited. Today, however, about 30 minutes into class, she showed up again! She, again, hadn’t read all the material required for the day (how could she have?) and again she asked asinine question after asinine question. 

Now as a college student, I am used to dealing with that guy or girl in class. Every class has one: they sit in front. They presume to know more than the professor or like to show off how their life exactly relates to every topic covered in class. Everyone hates them, and everyone knows it. I have, however, never been so offended by that guy or girl as I am by this girl. I find her behavior completely disrespectful, not only to the professor but also to the other students. She is wasting our time and basically saying we are wasting our time by actually coming to class and being prepared. I’m frankly surprised the professor has put up with it.

I also worry that she (and the three other people in my class who come and go so much we wonder every day if they’ve dropped the class) is giving a completely terrible representation of my school, as our professor is visiting form another university AND we have a senior citizen in our class who is auditing through a special program run by the university. Because of this, I find myself over-preparing for class and making sure I am always present and on time, if not early. It’s like I’ve taken it on myself to represent my school well, becuase no one else will. I personally have to make up for their slacking. 

Then I started thinking, I do this for my generation as a whole ALL THE TIME. I overtip so the waiter won’t think young people are cheap. I never get sloppy drunk in public, especially on public transportation, because I don’t want the actual adults to think we are all alcoholics. I keep up on current events so when I interact with adults, I have something interesting and intelligent to say, keeping them from thinking “These young people are so wrapped up in themselves, I doubt they’ve even HEARD of the New York Times.” I’ve done this in internships, in social situations, EVERYWHERE. I’ve somehow appointed myself ambassador for twenty-somethings, at lesat the college aged ones. Everyone else screws up our reputation, and I, for some reason, feel it’s my job to fix it. 

Does anyone else do this? Do you feel constantly embarrassed by your peers? Do you just want to scream at them, “YOU ARE MAKING ME LOOK LIKE A FOOL!”? Because a lot of them really are. 

(Obviously, I’m not saying all college kids are like this. I don’t want people to think I hate everyone. I just don’t appreciate the few who make us all look bad.)



  1. That’s absolutely insane. I’m reallu surprised your professor is still letting her take the class. None of mine would have. I hate when people don’t take school seriously. They ruin it for all the people who actually want to learn.

  2. Um, ridiculous. I hope that girl fails. I’m actually surprised they even let her in, usually there’s an enrollment cut-off date.

  3. I know how you feel–I felt the need to overcompensate for the other young Americans (and just other Americans in general) I encountered every time I went to Europe. That girl will fail the class, don’t worry, and then all will be Right And Balanced In The World.

  4. I have only encountered such horrific apathy (both on student and professorial levels) in MET classes that I’ve taken, and even then never approaching anything like this.

    And I also definitely feel what pressure you feel about keeping our generation’s good reputation intact. I like to think that part of it is also just trying to be a good person in general, but there’s definitely a generational element to it. Actually, I sometimes feel like I strive to be a better person than the people I see in our parents’ generation. Not to say anything about your parents (I only met them once, fleetingly, in Syracuse I believe) or mine, but I think there’s a lot about the Boomers that can be sought to improve upon… of course, there’s also a ton of great elements to their generation… I think I’m just digging a hole here…

    Anyways, I’m finally back in Boston (I’ll be posting this afternoon about *that* debacle… as a fellow tragic traveler, I hope you shall sympathize) and am damn glad to be home.

    And remember, hard work and the results of it are sometimes their own reward. And sometimes you get a great sense of smug superiority to boot. (Nothing wrong with it when it’s clearly apropos!)

  5. ugh. some people are so lame. i want to punch them all in the face too.

  6. Ahhh I totally do this too! I do it in every area of my life thogh. If I’m with a friend who’s not that friendly, I’ll be way overly friendly, etc. etc. It’s kind of a stressful job.

    Thank you so much for your Guidespot input!! 🙂

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