Monday, November 18, 2013

College students: be part of the solution, not part of the problem!

I sat with a student the other day who complained incessantly about everything wrong with the program and with the institution. When it came to his dissatisfaction with courses,  I asked if he had ever once filled out any of the course evaluations and he said he had not. I asked if he'd ever talked to his instructors, the department chair and he said he had not. His excuses were that he didn't want to get anyone in trouble and he didn't think anyone would do anything about it anyway. My response:

"How in the hell can you sit there and complain if you're helping to perpetuate the problem?"

Can you imagine where we'd be today if everyone kept their mouths shut because they didn't want to get anyone in trouble or because they thought nobody would do anything?

Students at all colleges and universities have a Bill of Rights and along with that comes responsibilities. Whether written or unwritten it is implied. College is one of the first places young people learn about leadership and responsibility. Of all places, the institutions of higher ed should be where we hear the loudest voices for change. As a student, you pay your hard-earned dollars in exchange for a high quality education and if you're not getting it, then you need to tell someone and you need to keep telling someone until something is done about it. There are mechanisms in place to protect students from retaliation so there is no reason to be afraid. The institutions of higher ed make it very clear upon arrival that the students are important to the success of the institution. They want you to tell them when something isn't right. How can they improve if they don't know what's wrong?

So...stop complaining about the same problems over and over to those who can't do anything about it and start complaining to those who can! Don't just sit back and wait for someone else to do it either because chances are nothing will ever be done at all. 

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