T Nation

New Generation

I used to hear the same stuff in the 70s, how our generation was lazy and overpriviliged. Your right, it’s something everyone hears from thier elders. Come to think of it, things were pretty easy in the late 70s. Vietnam and the draft were over. Aids was still unheard of. Man I would get in a Delorean and go back if it weren’t for the disco.

Amen to what Magnus said. I went to college in 1981 and again in 1991. What a difference those ten years made! As a white upperclass male, I was routinely ignored and my opinions dismissed. Doesn’t matter who’s right or who has facts to back up their statements, the only thing that matters now is what your racial/ethnic background/gender/sexual orientation is. Fuck that. Want to know why I live in Japan? That’s why.

Still, you can get a rise out of pretty much any PC type by using the following: When they comment about how bad/sexist/imperialist/etc. white hetero men are, just say, “Yeah, white men are pigs. Too bad we own everything. (then, head thrown back) HAH HAH HAH!” Always works for me.

Finally, I am sooo tired of hearing about how great the sixties youngsters were. Yeah, they had convictions, but I wonder what happened to them in the 80’s. Just remember, the same 20-something guys who protested against the Vietnam War were the 40-somethings who promoted the me-ism of the 80s, along with corporate raiding, junk bonds, Reganomics and so on. Makes you think.

I’m a 23 year old consultant for an international fraternity so I travel to about 50 or so universities in a year plus keep up front with what is going on across the country. Also, I have spent a lot of time working on orientation and studying that. Point is, I feel I have a prety good grasp of what is going on in colleges. Something that is clear to me is that studnets are MUCH more involved than just a few years ago. Did you know that in 2000 70% of students belived service learning should be an integral part of their education. That’s up from about 20% in 1990 (just a decade ago!). Today’s students are involved in more activities, working longer hours, and volunteer more than ever before. Think about how many more students are working half to full time today versus just years ago. I think a lot of the problem with our lack of “activism” is that it has been pushed so far, we’re reaching the fringes. Think about it, look at how much less obvious pollution is today, how much more available education is, how many more programs there are, how much better the racial problems are, everything. Granted, not everything is solved, but we’re a hell of a lot better. So in an effort to be like the people of the 60’s, fringe groups are trying to forge their way. Think about PETA, ALF, Feminist Majority Leadership Association (FMLA). Even groups from back then, such as NOW, NAACP, Greenpeace, are having to look for new issues to tackle. The more they stray from the center, the less support they get.

In defense of Patricia’s comments. You have a very good point. A lot of today’s youth is looking for a handout. They have a lack of personal responsibility and don’t recognize consequences. You should see the difficulty people have understanding they can be held legally responsible for their actions (ie. drinking) or that we can make rules for them (you should see me try to force alcohol free housing). As I explain to my chapters, people will take as much as you give them. These are kids who didn’t have to work to pay for their car and insurance, kids who were raised on parents trying to be more like friends, kids of single parent homes where each one competed to be the most liked, and being given everything so you don’t have to feel neglected. It’s all about work ethic and what we expect from people. When a school in Palm Beach County only requires a 23 out of 100 to pass its ABCD multiple choice test, what can we expect. People either live up to or down to your expectations.

I think people watch way too much T.V. Apparently, even the professors must make broad generalizations based on MTV. I heard a quote recently that says that the older generation talks about the younger generation as if they had nothing to do with it. Where do you think us 20-somethings learned about apathy and selfishness? If there is such a widespread problem who do you think is to blame? We learn at our parent’s knees. Please, no more fingerpointing. How about taking responsibility for yourself and your children. How about stopping the hypocrisy and actually raising your kids correctly. How about denying your selfish impulses and put your children’s welfare first. How about raising your kids with two parents. I am sick of the excuses people give for getting divorced. If you have a child, then work at your marriage.
By the way, I have two degrees in one of the most difficult subjects possible. The knowledge required to obtain these degrees has increased twenty to thirty-fold since the 1960’s. I do not think I am too far off base when I state that the young now are required to have a much larger knowledge base than our parents. Oh, it’s too bad that Jay Leno never gives me a history quiz on television. I would make him look very foolish. It’s too bad the press never reports on my scores or my political involvement. You know why they don’t? Because they rely on controversy to spark interest. I wouldn’t make good type because I am a professional who obeys the law, always votes, is involved politically, keeps my word, honors my wife and children, loves family, and believes strongly in education.

Char-dawg: I’m gonna use that.

Theta: At our Unit Agreement meeting this past fall (where residents can add rules that they’d all like to live by, such as yelling “flush” when flushing and someone else is in the shower), I asked the freshmen on my floor what their pet peeves were, etc. “Hey, we’re 18, we’re adults, we don’t need more rules.” Yeesh. Yet at 18 years old, they still haven’t learned to aim for the center of the toilet with either end.
On the topic of service and volunteerism: one of my favorite things to do is when some freshman girl tells me that she’s rushing a sorority, I say “Oh, you’re joining an Honorary?” When she mutters “no,” I say “Oh, so you’re joining a service sorority, where you do good works and read to the blind, and things like that?” “No, not that kind of sorority either.” “Oh,” I say, all dissappointed. Cracks me up every time.

Maybe that’s why I don’t get many dates…

Theta: you’re right.

We have a copier machine here in the office and we post a sign for all to see: "Copies, 25 cents a piece". Even though there is a copy center right across the street from us, the students come here. Why? Well, because WE in the office will make the copies. While at the copy center they'd have to do it themselves (even though it's only 7cents a copy). And they wait until the last moment to get this done, and as they complain about the cost, will rush, rush my office to do their bidding. My solution? We're charging 50cents a copy now and after this summer, will NO LONGER make copies for students.

This is just ONE example of what I have to deal with day in and day out with students. BUT, the faculty can be worse. Alot of times, they enable the students to behave this way. And some are worse than the students.

You know, JasonL if what this Prof said is REALLY bugging you. It not only means it's making you think - but if you really want to do some research on this "topic" - then ask the people on your campus who, like me, deal with both faculty and students everyday. You're most likely going to get some interesting comments.

There is nothing to ‘protest’ in our modern world. Your teacher is full of shit. We are all humans regardless of how old we are. There isn’t like a magic gene that they have that makes them give a shit and us not. He just has a lack of respect.

Two observations about this I would like to share. The first is that I went to a large liberal university (is there another kind?) I would say that if anything the PC pendulum is starting to seing back. I talk to more and more people every day who are less interested in who your parents were than what you can do. In fact, this spring my university made national news by refusing to fund separate graduation ceremonies for ethnic minorities (no shit – 30 some years after the Civil Rights Movement, MSU refused racial segregation!). This is a far cry from the early 90’s when our school allowed one of its students to be threatened to the point he had to drop out because he had the temerity to suggest that white straight males receive a special seat on the student government body, along with the special voting blocs for gays, Polynesians, feminists, and anyone else who could not strictly be construed as SWM. As frustrating as political correctness is, outside of the university classroom I expect a big backlash in the upcoming decade and in this country we will go back to being opinionated AND outspoken.

The other thing I would like to share was an intriguing conversation that I had with a group of my friends that I saw at a wedding on Saturday. This group was a typical cross-section of young men who I went to school with: some rich, some poor, some crazy drunks, some teetotalers, some liberals, some conservatives, some lifters, some skinny-fats, etc. One of them had been received his commission with the marines the week before and was in uniform. The really interesting part of this conversation was when the topic of the War came up. Every single one of those guys got quiet and said that if the military needed us they would go. Frankly, I was amazed. Here was a group of guys that couldn’t agree on the kind of rotgut beer to buy for a fraternity party, and certainly more than a few of them were actively anti-violence. It was easily the most somber and most earnest I have ever seen these guys. I think that Sept. 11 was a big wake-up call. Our enemies should take note – you have pissed off the Good Humor Man. If these gents are talking like this, violence may not be your best bet.

So I don’t think that our generation is necessarily lazy or apathetic – what have our major, life-destroying conflicts been before last year? The Gulf War? Renaming offensive sports mascots? Dubya? Fucking McDonalds? There just hasn’t been something for EVERYONE to get behind, like there is now.

So as I am writing this it is 6 o’clock friday night. Am I getting ready to go out and drunk and have a good time? no. I am going back to my lab in two hours to set up another series of reactions and look at some raw data I gathered for my masters thesis. I hate my thesis, it sucks. But I still bust my ass doing it and whenever something doesn’t work i go actively looking for a solution or a new method. Several other grad students in my department also put in time on weekends and work until all hours of the morning. MOst of us are around 22 by the way. I bust my ass and I don’t expect anything to be handed to me. So to all of you saying we are a generation of slackers you can kiss my ass. As some else said, it is partly you aging fucks who made us what we are. If you don’t like then it is your fault and and a reflection of your own inadequecies.