March 8, 2010

The best part of waking up

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Here is a conversation I just had with a student:

Student: I never got my fellowship letter. I asked you to mail it to two addresses so I wouldn't miss it.
S: I know you asked me, but I didn't say yes. Asking somebody to do something for you doesn't actually obligate them to do it.

There's a lot of research about the entitlement of the "millennial" generation, and while I encounter exceptions to those rules every day, I have to say, people in their late teens and early twenties are entitled in a way I cannot fathom. Por ejemplo, this morning we had coffee and pastries available for 30 minutes prior to guest speaker event. People were supposed to grab coffee and something to eat and then grab a seat before the panel began.

About 30 minutes into the panel, there's a knock on the door. We let the late-comers in, but instead of sheepishly taking seats in the back, they walk in front the audience, including someone videotaping our event, to get some coffee and scones, and then LEFT. I was blown away by the rudeness, and when I confronted them later to tell them it wasn't cool, their response was "but we wanted coffee." I told them coffee was available before the panel began, but they claimed that time was "too early" and they wanted coffee to bring to their 10:00am class.

"The next time you think your desire for coffee is so important you have the right to intrude on an event with important guest speakers and a 60 person audience, I want you think of how pissed I am right now and make another choice*."

The next time they saw me after that lecture, they both ducked like I was about to throw something at them. Mission accomplished.

*K taught me the phrase "make another choice." Maybe she can devote a post to why someday.

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