Today, one of my colleagues shared an article recently posted in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Professors See a Lack of Professionalism Among Students.”
Sadly for you students out there the author, Ann Schnoebelen, is spot on. The amount of professionalism that we see displayed by students is low and we see it in constant decline.
What has been causing this decline in professionalism?
The author cites a few culprits: technology, lack of focus, lack of motivation, and an inability to effectively communicate. The biggest problem cited in the survey, however, was a problem of entitlement. Faculty say that students today are too entitled and feel like despite how little effort they put into something, they should be handed everything.
The world OWES them.
I have seen this play out a few times in my career here at IU. I have had students who believed that because they paid money for their degree, that I should make sure they have a job when they graduate. Clearly, that is not actually my job. My job is to teach you how to find a job, which is much more beneficial in the long run.
I have also seen students who are exactly the opposite. SPEA is full of very hard-working, motivated students who want to get out there and make a difference. This is why I feel like I am really lucky to be here. Entitled students exist, but they are in the minority.
What can you do to make sure that you are not one of the unprofessional students?
- Continually practice your written and verbal communication. You will never, ever be perfect that this. It is a skill you must practice for the rest of your life. Get used to practicing it NOW.
- Hone your interview skills (mock interview, anyone?).
- Network in person, not just online.
- Put your phone, tablet, laptop, whatever-piece-of-technology down and pay attention to people who are talking to you. That includes teachers, friends, family, and people you don’t know.
- Realize that the world owes you nothing. Once you get past that, it is going to completely change how people perceive you and you are much more likely to make professional connections and get a job.
Work on these things. Practice them. Perfect them. We can help you do that.