I know. When a 33 year old bachelor takes to his blog to pronounce an opinion on something there’s always a chance it’ll be a nothing burger filled with wild speculation sauce and empty positioning as a topping. Here’s the thing – I think I’m right. After fifteen or so years of learning how to be an adult I feel like I have some authority on this subject – and some advice to give to those who are bopping around in their young adult years. And yes, I used the word “bopping”. Don’t give up on me just yet.
It’s been a year and change since I restarted ala Frankenstein’s Monster my college experience. I came in knowing I was going to be one of the older students. I was ready to accept some of what I knew was coming – dealing with folks who were just out of high school. I drank my metamucil. I stocked up on my fiber.
And I was still not ready. Part of it is my naivety. I attended Fort Lewis College in Durango from August ’01 to May of ’02. In the span of one semester we had two students pulled out via ambulance for alcohol poisoning and both after 9am in the morning. Regularly the smell of marijuana permeated the halls in the common area of my door. Our dorm was known for the highest level of damage to property that semester and they were about to fine us all because the offenders were unwilling to confess. I forgot about it this for the most part until I returned to the college world and realized so much growing up happens in college it’s a bit mind boggling.
But the trouble that I’ve found in my experience is that the learning curve is getting worse. In one of my English classes I had a fellow student who had just recently graduated utter the words, “I didn’t care about high school – and I’m glad I didn’t. It didn’t matter.” She then proceeded to curse about the teacher in our class, affirm her hatred for the woman she was paying for an education and go straight to her phone for the rest of the hour. I wanted to raise the point that she didn’t seem to care about her college experience either and that given her attitude I would wonder how this would assist her in her future plans. But I’m fairly certain she would not have reacted in a positive and respectful matter to my concerns.
The impetus for this conversation was the confrontation with a random student that had sat down at a computer in our lab. The room is reserved for the english classes for the most part of the day. There’s a sign on the door stating as such. There’s also a whiteboard with that information clearly displayed with the hours of reservation. Our teacher let this student know that the room was reserved and if she could please relocate to another computer lab room, it would be appreciated. The student pushed back, suggesting that there were enough computers in the room and she wouldn’t be leaving.
Here’s where I furrowed my brow. When a professor asks you to relocate due to her needing the reserved room with her class for teaching uninterrupted I would have said, “Oh, I’m sorry! Let me save my work and I’ll be on my way, Thanks for the heads up.” I would have saved, printed and left the room with another word of thanks and maybe even another apology.
But this student didn’t do that. My professor returned to her desk to do a few things, hand out a few papers and circled back to now tell the student she would need to leave. And this is when the fit throwing began. You’d imagine the student would have accepted defeat at this point and headed out. But no. She angrily typed whatever was left, saved with rage filled hands to keyboard. Then made all kinds of noise shoving items into her backpack, slamming books on the desk and huffing, puffing and cursing under her breath out the door. This was done in front of about twenty five of us fellow students. In my head I wanted to ask, “What would your parents think of this?”, but I decided my professor and the student in question had experienced enough tremulous trouble for the day. It was at the moment that the student had left and the professor commented that it would have been bothersome to us that the first student in my post muttered, “It wouldn’t have bothered me.”
You act like that when you’re four. You throw tantrums when you’re six. You huff and puff when you’re a middle schooler who hates his parents. You curse and disrespect your teachers in high school. Apparently we’re not growing out of any of those phases in our college years. I have evidence from each of my classes over the last year and a half to support the theory of a shocking and terrifying loss of “how to adult” in the current and impending generations.
It’s part of why I want to be a teacher. I want to instruct the future on how to use the English language. I desire to teach them how to communicate maturely both in the verbal form and the written form. And I want to start to help them see why starting to act like an adult in the appropriately titled “young adult” years is a big key to success.
I’ve got a year or two more of college to experience. I’m hopeful as I get higher into the course loads for my major that I find fellow adults. I guess that’s all I can put stock in at this point – the hope that they show up somewhere along this road littered with grown infants.