Self-Entitlement and the American College Student

 

I’m going to sound like a mega-grump in this post. Just thought I’d warn you now, so you can back up and switch tabs to the “Which Loaf of Bread are You?” quiz on Buzzfeed. Because that’s probably more important (aren’t we all just carbs on the food pyramid of life?)

What I have to say may not come as a shocker to most people. We all know college students, right? I mean, you must know at least one. Based on the general demographics of the readers of this blog, you probably are one. And for that, I applaud you. You decided to take 4+ years of your life to get a handshake and a piece of paper and maybe a job that relates to that piece of paper. Or maybe a job at McDonald’s. Because does anyone really hire people who got a B.A. in Art History? (Art History majors, I’m sure you’re wonderful people. I’m just using you as an example of the cruelties of this economy.)

Because we all (probably) know (at least one) college student(s), I think it’s safe to say that the following question has crossed our minds:

Why the heck are college students so dang self-entitled? 

You may or may not have used expletives stronger than mine, depending on your level of feeling for this topic. I’m assuming that if you are in the older demographic, you’re thinking, “College kids think the world is gonna be handed to them. They think they deserve everything that comes to them and if they don’t get what they think they deserve, they complain about it to their parents. Or they Tweet about it. Or they move back to their suburban home and live in their mom’s basement until their 30, just waiting for their career in cartooning to kick off.”

Maybe not those exact words, but close enough.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you’re of the younger demographic (aka an actual college student, or a recent graduate), you might be thinking, “Heck yeah I deserve something. I just spent 4+ years of my life studying graphic design. Where’s my interview with Pixar?”

My cop-out response is that both groups of people are justified. It’s easy to look at a college student and see an entitled brat who drives around the car that Daddy bought for him and actively complains about the dearth of cafeteria food available to him on a daily basis – when he’s one of the few people in the world who eats three meals a day.

Let me put it this way: College students, by nature, invest a lot of time, effort, and money into themselves. They’re probably going to school for the sake of their future, so it’s not hard to become a bit ego-centric when you come to college. Every day is about you – your classes, your job interviews, your activities, your choice of what to watch on Netflix.

(Some of them even blog about these things.)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not justifying the self-entitled college student. No one is entitled to anything. I am not entitled to an education or a job. I’m not entitled to awesome food in the cafeteria or kick-butt student activities. I only deserve these things if I’m willing to work for them. But if I don’t, I shouldn’t rant about how I got cheated by society or the economy or whatever nameless philosophical blob I could blame. It all comes back to me.

How am I using this situation, whether I’m where I want to be or not?

So consider this an open letter to self-entitled college students. Let me offer you some unsolicited advice, since everyone has probably been giving you unsolicited advice at this time in your life.

1) Guess what! The world doesn’t revolve around you. You’re shocked, I know. But I think a lot of times, we young, spunky college students like to think the world is our oyster…and it is, but it also isn’t. Just because it’s our oyster doesn’t mean we deserve the pearl. We gotta work for that pearl. So we can pay for that pearl. And turn it into a fancy necklace. Or an earring. Or an iPhone case. Whatever you dig. 

2) Sometimes people are simply not going to like you. That’s a thing that happens. Just because they don’t like you doesn’t mean a) you’re unlikeable or b) they’re unlikeable. Sometimes professors won’t like you. Sometimes bosses won’t like you. Or that guy who lives down the hall from you and exclusively eats honey-nut Cheerios. And you just have to live with it. Because trying to make people like you is legitimately exhausting. And you already have enough stressing you out. 

3) Complaining is not your friend. Complaining will make you sad and grouchy, like a shriveled-up onion, or something gross like that. Just because the cafeteria is serving chicken for the 14th day in a row (yep, that’s a thing at the school I go to) doesn’t mean you need to go complaining about how “oh my gosh I’m so sick of chicken this is so disgusting why *sad face*.” I’m going to play the guilt-trip-mom card on you: a lot of people in the world don’t get to walk into a cafeteria and eat stuff. So you choke that chicken down. AND YOU ENJOY IT. 

4) Hating on people is also not cool. I usually don’t like using “hate” as a verb, but I think it’s justified here. Seriously. I hear people talk trash about other people a lot. Sometimes I even partake. But it doesn’t do anyone any good. It might make you feel good about yourself to put someone down, but that feeling doesn’t last. Just because you think someone is weird, nerdy, or different from you doesn’t give you the right to say so. That guy who eats the Cheerios? He’s got a full, dynamic life just like you. He just happens to have an affinity for fiber. Get to know people. It’ll help you understand why they do some of the quirky things they do. And usually, those quirky things are really awesome. 

Here comes the part of this post wherein I descend from my soapbox and join reality once again. Like I’ve said before, this blog is my space to try to figure things out, and maybe get some help along the way. I’m simply ruminating on some things that have been rattling around in my head recently. Thanks for letting me ramble on and be cynical about people. And whatever you decide to do with this slew of information I just threw at you, continue living your awesome life. Wake up, drink something caffeinated, step outside, and join the many confused human beings out in the world who are just trying to figure things out along with you. And then take a nap when you’re done, because that is one thing you are entitled to.

Disclaimer: It has been brought to my attention that this post sounds slightly pompous and, upon reading it over again, it does seem like a bratty trend-piece writer wrote this (Who? Me?) I forgot to mention that I myself am a college student and a lot of this stuff is me telling myself to not do stuff like this. Because believe me. I do. So I apologize if I came off as obtuse. Also, this post is categorized under “satire.” Read into that what you will. 

And thank you for understanding my somewhat obtuse and close-minded views on the world. 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Self-Entitlement and the American College Student

  1. Hello! American college student right here! *Tips hat*
    I know what you’re thinking. Here comes another whiny college student who’s about to insist that *they’re* not like that and they would never complain or rant or whine so don’t they deserve a prize?
    You’d be half right, if that’s indeed what you’re bracing for.
    However, I also want to defend my counterparts. Not only am I not an entitled little monster, neither are most of my peers. With all due respect, I believe that you’re only taking the loud minority into consideration. While they’re out griping and grumbling, the rest of us are keeping our heads down and working hard.
    I’m not perfect. Everyone complains once in a while, just like how this entire post was mostly one long complaint. I do it to. I want a good job, and it’s discouraging that good jobs are hard to find. I don’t think that I’m entitled to one, though. If I don’t land the career of my dreams on my first try, that’s fine. I intend to keep at it and hopefully score a job at the bottom. I’ll do my time in the less coveted occupations and work my way to the top little by little.
    So please, think twice before generalizing a whole group of people.

    Like

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment, friend! I enjoy seeing other people’s opinions and generating some responses.
      I also am an American college student. While this post might read as a long complaint (which…yeah, more or less it probably is), I simply wanted to say something to those college students who take their privilege for granted. That’s me sometimes. I often forget that I’m one of few people in the world who have the chance to get a higher education. I was simply (not so gently?) reminding students that while it’s easy to be selfish as an undergrad, it’s one of the best times to think positively, care deeply, and live responsibly.
      I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m generalizing. I’ve seen definite trends in millennials and self-absorption. Think of this post as simply a way to speak into the chaos of the life of a 20-something and remind them (and myself!) that there is a world outside of themselves.
      Thanks again for your input!
      Sincerely,
      Also Another Whiny College Student

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s