More Snow and a Rant on Entitlement

I have abandoned the play-by-play coverage of SnOMG 2010 because I’m sick of it.  It’s pretty amazing when you think about it but I haven’t had a second to enjoy any of it.  I’ve either been shoveling snow or trying to restore my body from shoveling.  And now, 16-24 more inches headed our way tomorrow and Wednesday. Great!

All of this snow has made clean up and clearing a bear of a job for everyone, not the least of which is our college campuses.  I had a conversation today with a college student about the dilemma of college students not being able to get off campus to get food and food service workers going home after staying on at work for 3 days straight.  One opinion was that the students shouldn’t have to go without food because food service workers decided not to come to work.  My suggestion was that if each student on campus volunteered 30 minutes to shoveling, the whole campus would be clear in no time and they could go wherever they wanted to get food.  My idea was considered hilarious and ridiculous by the student.  Things like, “there’s no way I’m touching a shovel”, “maybe the students who are getting a full ride can shovel”, “I would laugh at them”, “Well, they would have to give me something for shoveling — I’d need to get something out of it.”

I got so irritated that I ended the conversation.  To me, that response is entitled, elitist, self-centered and selfish.  All qualities that annoy the living hell out of me, by the way.  Here’s my thing — shoveling the snow is not for the benefit of the grounds workers — it’s for the students!  It’s so that they can resume their classes (the education they are paying for) or at the very least, be mobile enough to go get some food or just get out of the dorm and move about a bit.  I want to attribute this attitude to youth and be done with it.  Either way, it annoys the hell out of me.

Someone wiser than me once said that there are 3 kinds of people in the world: those who talk about what needs to be done; those who roll up there sleeves and do what needs to be done, and those who sit back and squawk about the other two.  Where are values like team work and contributing to the common good?  Why do we feel like we have to personally benefit from doing something that needs to be done in order to contribute to the effort?  Have we really raised such an entitled generation of brats? Honestly?

I busted my ass shoveling out my house this weekend.  Alone.  Because my parents can’t do it.  Did I whine about it some? Yes!  It was some of the hardest work of I’ve ever physically done.  But I did it.  Period.  Because it needed to be done and it will need to be done again tomorrow and Wednesday.  And I will do it again.  I don’t expect to be paid or thanked or even cooked for, for that matter.  It needs to be done — for my benefit and for theirs and therefore I will do it.

I honestly believe that there are plenty of college students who would pitch in to the common goal of clearing the campus and getting things back to normal — some because they are good natured and helpful, some because they are bored and what the hell, why not.  At least I need to believe that this is true.

I think what gets under my skin the most is the underlying, “that’s what I pay YOU to do” attitude that is just plain elitist and disgusting.  I went to high school at Sidwell Friends in DC — where the Obama’s go to school.  I only lasted one year.  Not because it was academically rigorous or anything like that — I held my own there.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around the entitlement all around me.  At the end of the year I just told my folks, “look, these aren’t my kind of people.  Save your money for college.”  That was the short version of what I am expressing in this entire post.  I felt it then, at age 15.  Some shit is just wrong in my book and not being willing to lift a finger to help get something done that needs to be done and that benefits YOU is among the wrong shit.

Part of me really hopes that a group will emerge and organize on Facebook or something that will be a community effort to clear their campus so that they can get back to the business of being in college.  It would do my heart good to be reminded that there really are “those who do what needs to be done”, just because it needs to be done.

[end rant]

P.S. – I am so in love with my heating pad at this very moment.

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3 thoughts on “More Snow and a Rant on Entitlement

  1. I have to believe with you that it’s youth. I first noticed it the first time I taught youth bible study. One of the kids said, “My parents are supposed to buy me everything I want.” I said, “You mean, they’re supposed to buy you everything you NEED.” And he corrected me. “No, they’re supposed to buy me what I want. If I want $150 sneakers, they’re supposed to buy them for me. That’s their job.” To add to my shock, most of the other kids agreed with him.

    Being only 20 myself at the time, I was floored. I had hoped that this was the attitude of only a few, but apparently, it’s a view shared by a few too many.

  2. This post made me sad and angry, too, especially the part about the scholarship students doing it. I was a single mom who couldn’t pay for college and my three children all put themselves through college and graduate school with scholarships, Pell grants, student loans which took years to repay, and also worked their asses off to become the valuable citizens they are today.

    I was sent to a Friends boarding school at 15 and also lasted only one year. I was extremely uncomfortable with the entitled attitudes expressed by most of the other students, the really expensive birthright clothing, and the widespread notion that they didn’t really have to do anything because their parent’s money would always shield them from anything unpleasant or difficult.

    Try to do the shoveling with rest periods, if you can. And please be very kind to yourself afterward.

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