Student work ethic underestimated

"I was sitting in my senior capstone class, fighting to stay awake during a guest speaker from the career services office. At the front of the room stood the same cookie-cutter, rah-rah motivational speaker I had seen hundreds of times before. These guys all follow the same stale recipe. It goes something like this: one-half velvety broadcasting voice flavored with optimistic buzzwords like "prospecting" and "networking," one-fourth high school cheerleader sans pom-poms and one-fourth outright undermining the strengths of the students in the digital age.

""Let’s face it," the speaker said. "We’re all too busy wasting away on Facebook and our iPhones to be concerned with internships, jobs and our future. If it’s not on a computer screen, it doesn’t cross our minds."

"There’s nothing like a slew of blatant generalizations to perk you up during a late-afternoon, in-class snooze session.

"No matter what level of school I’ve been in, these speakers have all been the same. They bombard students with ominous warnings of a bleak future—where we’re all jobless on single file lines at the soup kitchen—and completely debase us of any achievement we have earned.

"Why does this perception that our generation is nothing but apathetic and uninspired exist? Last time I checked, college students are still revolutionizing the way we look at the world. They are still as ambitious and self-starting as any other generation and we’re still dictating the culture. If anything, technological advancements have made it easier for this generation to be entrepreneurs in any industry.

"It doesn’t just stop there. I’ve spoken with so many relatives who are quick to point out that this generation is just "a bunch ‘a no-good kids hooked on video games and cell phones." Back in their day… well, you know.

"I’m tired of this unfounded claim. In my time at Oswego State, I’ve encountered tons of people passionate about their field. It’s refreshing to speak with someone who is completely immersed in his or her latest self-directed project. Just recently, I have talked to students headed in every direction after graduation—some found jobs, some are off to graduate school and some are off to law school—but all are inspired to start a new venture.

"So, if I could say one thing to the gentleman from career services who kindly eviscerated any positive notion I had to a successful career? You must not be looking in the right place.

"Yes, there are those in this generation who are too engaged in Facebook and social networking and imagined social communities to care about his or her future; denying that would be naïve. But, to say this entire generation is just filled with tech-heads without direction or purpose is downright insulting.

"Just keep in mind that some students remain passionate about their field. On behalf of this generation, I’ll pen this memo to all the Baby Boomers clamoring to dampen our expectations—quit killing our buzz, dudes.

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