Slack, shackle or standards?

Taylor Rocca, Copy/Web Editor Ω

More traditional shackles, such as this ball and chain, are being replaced by modern shackles such as high tuition fees and increased student debt. - PHOTO BY STEPHEN WORRELL/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

More traditional shackles, such as this ball and chain, are being replaced by modern shackles such as high tuition fees and increased student debt. – PHOTO BY STEPHEN WORRELL/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Is it just me or are people generally taking less pride in the things they do these days?

I’m talking about work, school, friendship and just life in general.

I look around my classroom and I see some people being just okay with simply “meeting the minimum requirements” rather than doing their best work.

I look around the workplace and I see people being okay with simply “meeting quotas” rather than doing their best work.

I can testify that this is happening, because in some instances, I am one of those people. I know on a few occasions this year I have said to myself, “You know what, it isn’t my best work, but it will have to do.”

Why does this seem to be a growing trend?

Is it that our generation is lazier? Is it that our generation is more apathetic? Is it that our generation doesn’t take its responsibilities as seriously?

More often than not I find myself frustrated, both with myself and those around me, for simply putting in the minimum required effort.

So who, or what is to blame for the seemingly increased slack efforts these days?

Most days I would say to you, “People aren’t held accountable often enough these days,” or, “People just don’t care about anything anymore because there is little to no incentive to strive to do your best.”

But the more I think about those two statements, the more I realize they aren’t necessarily true all the time. I certainly know most students in most programs are held accountable by grading systems. If you don’t put in a respectable effort, you aren’t going to get a respectable grade. That alone should keep people accountable and give them incentive. Two birds with one stone, you might say.

Unfortunately, you sometimes have to wonder if the grading system is even enough to keep people accountable or give them incentive. At the end of the day, unless you plan on going to graduate school, once you, the stellar 4.0-GPA student that you are, receives your expensive piece of paper, you look exactly the same on that piece of paper as the 2.3-GPA student who “did the minimum requirement.”

- IMAGE COURTESY OF KNOWLEDGE FIRST FINANCIAL

– IMAGE COURTESY OF KNOWLEDGE FIRST FINANCIAL

Heck, now that I think about it even more, check out the lacking effort from The Omega‘s own editor-in-chief, Mr. Mike Davies. Right above this here, our reliable and fearless leader has penned an eye-opening editorial piece summarizing the stories that you are about to read on the coming pages. Talk about tough work.

Still, being a full-time student who works and has numerous extra-curricular activities to help fill out my resume, I got thinking a little bit deeper about this (mostly because I was trying to make myself feel better about my sometimes less-than inspiring efforts).

According to Robert Ballingall, PhD candidate in political science at the University of Toronto, “Recent studies have found a causal relationship between higher post-secondary tuitions and student employment rates, particularly since 1990 – a period in which average tuitions in Canada have risen faster than inflation. Research also shows a negative relationship between higher student employment and academic performance.”

Take a look at the numbers posted above. It’s no wonder students are overwhelmed and left trying to accomplish as much adequate work rather than quality work. Any other means is almost unachievable for the average student with student loans and increasing tuition.

So after all my frustration and disappointment in the slouching efforts of my generation, perhaps I should be more frustrated with the shackles that have been forced upon us as the generation riding off into the sunset leaves its successors at the bottom of a deep and difficult hole.

Then again, it could just be human nature to be adequate if adequate is all that society requires.

copy@truomega.ca

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