College students expect to have everything handed to them and they’re absorbed by technology — a study from the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania suggests.
Based off the study titled, “2012 Professionalism on Campus,” 415 college and university faculty were surveyed nationwide to gauge student professionalism in the workplace. Nearly two-thirds – 64.4 percent – believe there’s an increase in students with a sense of entitlement over the past five years.
Entitlement was defined as, “expecting rewards without putting in the work or effort to merit the rewards.” It appears students are inclined to agree with those numbers — for the most part.
“I also see a lot of students that put forth a lot of effort,” said Laura Hyatt, an international affairs and Latin American and Caribbean studies major, “I’d say it’s maybe 50/50.”
When it comes to student entitlement, she sees money as a determining factor.
“Students that are getting financial help might not be taking it as seriously,” Hyatt said. “If you can feel the financial impact of your education you’re going to take it more seriously and work harder for it.”
Working and attending school full-time, Hyatt came back to school at an older age, she notices a difference between her younger counterparts enrolling straight out of high school.
“They just see college as an expectation,” she said. “Like you go to college, you get married and you have a bunch of kids with this life set, because that’s what they feel they need to do.”
Sophomore Blis Savidge would likely agree with Hyatt’s assertion. She believes economic background plays the part for most student entitlement — and uses her hometown of Johns Creek as an example.
“Everybody there, when you talk to people you’re like, ‘Oh, where are you going to school after you graduate?’” said Savidge, a 20-year-old pre-journalism major. “It’s not if you’re going to school, it’s where you’re going to school.”
The two most cited explanations for student entitlement in the study were parental upbringing at 30.4 percent and “a general reference to our culture,” at 14.8 percent.
Senior marketing major Erik Lee said much of the student entitlement he sees rears its head in group settings.
“With Terry classes we do a lot of group projects to help reinforce the fact that when you’re out in the workforce you’ll be doing a lot of group projects,” Lee said. “Some people just kind of drag along or slide through the cracks and still say that they deserve the same grade as everyone else when they’re not contributing.”
When looking at himself, Lee believes his mother’s strict academic ideals for him shaped his conduct and how he acts professionally.
“I feel like I’ve surrounded myself with a lot of people with a lot character integrity and are very hard working,” he said. “I don’t say I deserve this, I know I definitely have to work hard for what I desire.”
Savidge thinks many students matriculating from her town have been coddled.
“Pinpointing from Johns Creek, they’ve been handed things their whole life,” she said. “Why should they stop expecting to be handed things now? And I think that might be a bit of rude awakening for some people come after graduation.”
Aside from entitlement being the top student workplace faux pas, 57.5 percent of the faculty surveyed reported students showed an increase in “IT etiquette problems.”
And the main problems associated were text messaging at inappropriate times, inappropriate use of the Internet and social media during classes and inappropriate emails, meaning messages containing poor grammar, spelling and language, according to the study.
Hyatt was surprised to hear the number of faculty reporting the use of technology as a problem in the classroom was so low.
She thought it would be higher, “like 80 or 90 percent,” Hyatt said. “It’s human nature to not be able to pay attention for long periods of time.”
For her, phones aren’t a distraction. And she doesn’t bring a computer to class — she writes all her notes by hand.
“I have gotten distracted by other students with their computer open on Facebook or looking up articles and I can see it,” Hyatt said.
Savidge thinks 57.5 percent is on par, “A little over half,” she said.
Lee wasn’t surprised either.
“Especially having a smart phone,” he said. “You have access to everything; the Internet, social media, all that kind of stuff.”
Lee said phones are easier to conceal. Savidge believes the same.
“Even if you’re in classes where you’re not allowed to have technology,” she said, “I can just put my bag up and rest my phone against here and text.”
Lee has one professor out of six who bars the use of computers. But he has two Terry College of Business professors who allow the use of cell phones in class. Hyatt has two professors this semester who bar the use of technology in class.
Technology serves as students’ main distraction, he said. And, generally speaking, he has an apathetic view toward his classmates.
“It’s just hard to be disciplined,” Lee said. “If it’s not technology, it’s going to be something else.”