Dear College Kids

April 10, 2016

I read this piece in today’s Houston Chronicle about an incident that occurred during a talk that H-E-B’s president of the Houston region, Scott McClelland, gave to some business students at the University of Houston.

“About 20 minutes into his talk, he [Scott McClelland] spotted one student leaning back in his chair, sound asleep and ‘sawing logs.’

“‘I asked the student sitting behind the sleeping student to tap him on the shoulder. When he sat up, I told him that he looked tired and he needed to leave. He just sat there, so I told him again that he needed to go,’ McClelland recalled. ‘The whole class looked on (as the student left). I think they were surprised someone would actually address what probably is tolerated in other classes they attend.’

“McClelland said he didn’t plan on doing anything that dramatic, but in that moment he saw a teaching opportunity.

“‘When you are at work, or school, you need to bring your “A” game, because people are always watching,’ he said. ‘A year from now, the students in the class won’t remember the slide that I showed them on how we partnered with Whataburger to develop a retail package for ketchup, but they will remember that a kid fell asleep in class and the H-E-B guy didn’t tolerate it.’

“McClelland said doing nothing would have made him guilty of ‘the insidious acceptance of the B grade.'”

Well, one of the students who witnessed the exchange took to Twitter to call out McClelland. They said that McClelland was out of line and that he humiliated the student.

Wow. You cannot make this stuff up.

Here is a man who is probably earning $250K + per year, taking precious time out of his very busy schedule to impart his wisdom to a bunch of college kids who will be looking for jobs in the not so distant future. And here is a student sleeping during his lecture. So much for a good first impression.

The problem I have with today’s kids is that they don’t seem to understand that there are consequences for actions and those consequences may not be pleasant. You fall asleep in class, the lecturer calls you on it and asks you to leave. If you don’t want to be called on it, then don’t fall asleep during class. Instead, this person blames the problem on the lecturer. It doesn’t and shouldn’t work that way.

This is such a small issue that I feel silly even writing about it. Welcome to 2016.

5 responses to Dear College Kids

  1. That pretty much sums up the younger “me” generation. I see it in the fellow employees where I work, come in late every day, grumble when it is addressed that it is inappropriate, usually don’t even bother to come in on Mondays. Then expect raises and perks. This is the result of rewarding them in their youth for failures, failure to win in Little League, coaches fault. Failure to get good grades, teachers fault, failure to get jobs after graduation, companies fault, failure to make a big salary first year out of college, they are being cheated by the company. I hear it all day from the parents of this generation, from the generation itself. Their parents blame everyone else but their grown kiddies. Don’t even think this kid was embarrassed, it meant nothing to him.

  2. I don’t think it’s just ‘today’s kids’ or the current generation. I’m 41 and it seems people my age and older like to decry the kids / young adults of today for behavior that, let’s be honest, was probably largely the same. Although it was 20 years ago, I remember college quite well and there were a lot of people that skipped classes or went to classes and, yes, fell asleep. Is it rude? Sure. Are the student missing out on an opportunity to get more out of his education? Absolutely. But, let’s not pretend that this is the first time it’s ever happened.

    I think it was a good lesson, and the lecturer was absolutely right in that it will be remembered, but I guess I’m getting a little turned off by every such post acting like today’s younger generation is the first to act with a sense of entitlement, because I remember a lot of the people that I went to high school and college with, and I saw much greater entitlement along the way.

  3. I’m not saying older generations didn’t do the same things. What I am saying is that when they did those things, other people rarely made excuses for their behavior or turned them into victims.

    Things have definitely changed, Money Beagle…

  4. I would fall asleep in one of my masters classes for electrical engineering. It was right after lunch and it was in a really warm room. And of course, engineering teachers aren’t the most “entertaining”. I know that is a lot of excuses. Never had any problem like that in any other classes. I even liked that class, so it was a bit disappointing to me. Just all the right circumstances that made me not on my “A” game.

    I don’t know if it is realistic to always bring an “A” game to everything we do. We can try. But sometimes, when the kids are sick and keeping you up all night. When I go to work the next day I won’t be entirely alert.

  5. After reading the other comments I suppose I should say how old I am. I’m 37.

    I consider myself a hard worker. Other students in undergrad would always say that I was smart. It wasn’t necessarily that I was smart, it was that I would read the book and study before class.

    But really, college is a bit of a sham. Making you jump through hoops for things that you’ll never use in the real world. I think once I got past the general ed classes it wasn’t so much like that. Then I actually started learning. But I didn’t use hardly anything I learned in college in the real world. For engineering I think it would make more sense to just take a year or two to get you started and then get a real job and continually learn. Learning purely at college is a waste of time.

    There might be some professions where it makes more sense, like academics. But if you’re not going to be an academic then one should be learning in the real world and reading books and doing lessons and such. Since, once you get into the real world you actually get to see what you are actually going to use.

    I did attend some business classes that had industry people come in and talk about ethics and business. I found that fascinating. But I didn’t get credit for that. It was just a side class I enjoyed.