A don’t-care generation

By SpencerRoush

I am a part of the Millennial generation, the generation born in the ’80s when hair bands were all the rage and into the mid-’90s when grunge music hit the scene. We are the group who, for the most part, thinks landlines are superfluous, exposed tattoos and piercings are acceptable, and don’t mind voicing our opinions on prominent social issues.

It’s that same technological, self-thinking generation challenging educators to rewrite the way course curricula are taught and make students care about classes.

One Columbia professor phrased it like this: “There have been a lot of studies done on you Millennials, and basically you’ll work your asses off if you care about the project, but if you don’t, you’ll just say, ‘I’m not doing this sh*t.’”

Not only has this wise professor correctly pegged the Millennial generation’s attitude toward education with this simple phrase, but she received a laugh and nodding heads of agreement from the class full of 20-somethings that educators work so hard to reach.

Professors across college campuses can make their classes more interactive and request rooms full of the newest technology, but in the end, young people need to understand why their classes are irrelevant to them.

This is especially difficult for Columbia’s educators because the college is full of members of this finicky generation, and we are artists who may have a nonchalant attitude, only magnifying the problem.

Even though Columbia students may be young, temperamental artists, whether it’s with a pen and paper or a pair of dance shoes, we all pay a hefty sum to attend college and should make the most of classes and the opportunity to network while we’re here.

Columbia’s “three missed classes and you’re out” attendance policy was put in place with good reason, especially with the Millennial generation kids who would probably skip all but two classes to take their midterm and final exam if given the opportunity.

This is not to say that all Columbia art students would rather be anywhere but a classroom, but I’ve noticed this pattern during my three years here most prominently with LAS Core classes and general electives.

These course requirements not directly related to a major may seem unnecessary. I’m sure musical theater or dance majors wonder why they must fill a science lab requirement and pay hundreds of dollars per credit hour to succeed in their industry when they could be perfecting their craft.

With that said, Columbia is just trying to graduate well-rounded students by requiring everyone take these sometimes questionably irrelevant classes—and a refresher never hurts. The college even asks that each professor have an end-of-the-year project where students have the opportunity to creatively relate the particular subject to their major and perhaps get a portfolio piece out of it.

Because we are paying to attend college, it’s amazing how many students don’t mind if they get their money’s worth. Also, not showing up to class and having this “I don’t care” attitude is rude. Who really wants to be a part of a generation known for this? I

certainly don’t.