Sunday, May 2, 2010

This Is How I Know I'm Old

I'm reading through the mountain of end of term pieces from composition students. All year I've heard what seems like an extra amount of complaints and griping from students. Therefore, it doesn't surprise me that, left to write about whatever they want, many of them would vent.

I find myself frustrated, though, with their short-sightedness and lack of logic. They fail to make connections between, for instance, the benefits of attending a small liberal arts institution and the disadvantage of limited campus dining options. Or between demanding they be treated like adults and resenting a community service requirement that means they often have to go off campus. Professors want too much work! Not enough scholarship money! The speakers who come here are boring! I hate my new friends!

Even if the speakers are positively world-renowned, most 18 year olds wouldn't know who they are or if they are important. Time has made it very clear to me that who we are at the beginning of our adulthood may not who we are in the middle of it--thank goodness! But they are so unforgiving of other people!

I can only chalk it up to the folly of youth. They don't even know what they don't know. "You are sooooo young!" I think every time I hear a new complaint. I wish I could be more forgiving, too. But I want them to see how much they are growing, appreciate all the newness of college life, and DO something with all of the information and experiences offered them. Maybe it just takes my own patience to watch them in the coming years. They'll get there. Right?


ck said...

It's so weird feeling myself change from the outlook you're writing about (which I totally used to have) to the one you express in yourself now.

Guess that means I'm getting old right along side you. Some days it makes me sad to age, but most of the time I'm grateful for the perspective.

The Steel Magnolia said...

To quote my granpa: Just keep living.

Life will teach you a lot of things, huh?

Good Enough Woman said...

As a 41-year-old, I now understand the saying, "Youth is wasted on the young." When I was at Indiana University, did I take advantage the speakers, the culture, the music, the arts? No. I drank vodka collins and watched b-ball games on the tele.

Yes, youth--and college--are wasted on the young.

That said, I do have *some* AMAZING students who really get it. These students "get it" so much more than I did when I was in school.