A disconnect has developed and students are numb to the events that are happening on their campus, in their communities and across the country. Even the latest episode of “The Walking Dead” has nothing on the mindless drones wandering the Southwestern College campus. Student apathy has risen to new heights and SWC is not immune to a zombie pandemic.
In what can best be described as Grade 13, this college has fallen prey to a debilitating disease that spreads like a virus throughout the community. While many are worrying about transferring and completing two-year programs, a majority of the student body has no idea what they are going to do tomorrow, much less next year.
This epidemic is the result of information overload and technology. Constant bombardment from advertisements and marketing campaigns is nothing new. Advancements in technology, however, have brought it up close and personal.
Planetary connectedness is at an all-time high, but personal contact is rapidly decreasing.
Social media sites and text messaging have replaced family outings and telephone calls.
Access to information is at historical levels, yet many people are too lazy to do research. Dumbed-down masses take things at face value without questioning or thinking on their own.
Perhaps this is the result of years attending schools where information is spoon fed by teachers. Regimented curricula demands obedience and there is no room for contemplation. Standardized testing is the weapon and young impressionable minds are the target, causing human intellect to be under attack.
When asked about events going on around the campus and community, most zombie-eyed students repeat quotes from reality television, sports statistics and pop culture. Campus government is left to those students that are conscious and care or those promoting their own agenda. Few students attend the meetings of the Associated Student Organization or SWC Governing Board, bodies that make every decision regarding school budget, administration of classes and scheduling of events. Even fewer students know the names of these elected officials or even when elections occur. Thousands of students are attending classes at SWC, but only a fraction are members of a campus club.
Distraction and the need for instant gratification supplants the desire for understanding. Many students do not care anymore unless grades are at stake. A zero attempt resulting in a failing grade sends the most passive pupils into a frenzy. Most live a lifetime of less-than-languid ambition and expect top-notch credit for it. Poor attendance, sloppy work and the bare minimum is par for the course and many students think that it is not only acceptable, but commendable!
Years of social promotion and the “everyone wins” mentality have produced results that show humanity is losing. Many teachers are battling poor parental involvement and a dependence on gadgets, according to TeachHub.com, an online teaching alliance for educators. A teacher from Philadelphia left a comment on the website claiming that the students in her class, “don’t study, rarely do homework, leave projects unfinished, pay little attention to the lesson and wonder why they’re getting a failing grade. They demand ‘review’ sessions where the teacher tells them everything that’ll be on the test. Their behavior is horrible.” Students are too occupied with their phones, iPods, make-up and show up to class without books, paper and writing instruments.
Attention spans are shorter and reliance on technology is higher. In a world dominated by video games, sound bites and YouTube, people are able to get the short and sweet version at high speed.
Today everyone wants the dessert before the meal and the reward before the effort. Joe Friday, from the iconic 1950s television show “Dragnet” would approve of this “just the facts, ma’am!” lifestyle. Unfortunately, reality is not so simple. Real life is elaborate and complex—there are no Cliff’s Notes.
It is time to log off Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and look around. Students need to re-engage with their peers and professors while stealing back their education. Everyone’s future depends on it.