Talking ’bout my GenerationJuly 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.)