As young twenty-somethings, we are used to people trying to sell us things. To the success of Gap, Amazon, iTunes, and all the other stores that have sucked us in, we buy with the expectancy that companies will provide us with the goods that we desire.
We are a generation of online shopping and fast food. We are a generation that feels entitled to the best, the fastest, and the biggest, and thousands of companies market to our cravings, giving us 60-inch TVs, microwave meals, and 4G.
We are quick to swipe our debit card, and we unflinchingly use our consumer power to ensure the quality of our purchase. More than any other generation, we are the generation of “me,” wanting to buy things that will promote our individuality, establishing our identity through what we promote about ourselves– clothes, twitter feeds, and the newest iPhone.
Naturally, this same consumer attitude transcends to how we treat higher education. As part of the Mississippi College student body, you have committed to a huge financial investment: your education. But what is it that you are expecting out of this “purchase”?
According to studies done around the country, our rising consumer-shaped demands are affecting the quality of education due to the changing expectations of students.
Most of us at Mississippi College can think back to the not-so-distant past and remember the process of looking for a college. The steady flow of college mail piles up on the kitchen table, college tours with bubbly students come and go, and you are left to evaluate.
So many of those colleges will promote their academic programs and brag on their notoriety in the scholarly world, but, from my own experience and from national research, we, as students, do not care too much about all of that.
Trending throughout America, students are much more interested in the cafeteria, the workout classes offered, the apartment-style dorms, and the number of hang-out venues around campus than the learning offered. Our priorities lie not with the level of education we might receive, but in the level of comfort and luxury we might live in for the next four years.
Consumerism not only plays into our selection of our university, but it determines our attitude once we have arrived. We feel like the classes should be centered on our needs, schedule, and goals, rather than learning how to accept the requirements given by our professors.
I have heard many students say it and have shared in the sentiment, “I am paying thousands of dollars and cannot even get the class that I need to graduate.” We need the class, so we should have the class.
Even though the professor has a limited number of seats, and you have waited till the last minute to enroll, you still feel entitled to the class because you are forking over all that money. Using this “on demand,” fast-food mentality with our higher education is a common misappropriation that skews our perspective and, ultimately, our experience at MC.
When we view our education as a commodity, as if we are buying a diploma, we begin to see our professors and faculty as if we have bought them. Yes, our money goes toward the salary of MC employees, professors, and staff alike, but they are not our employees.
We did not “hire” them so that we could get in and get out of school as quickly and seamlessly as possible. We pay tuition so that we might learn, grow, and be stretched by those who have devoted their lives to learning.
We should come to college with the intent to become more capable citizens and to prepare for our independent adulthood. We should not come to MC because we believe that we can buy our education.
After all, education is advanced when we spend long nights working, when we listen to professors and peers alike, when we take risks. Education is not achieved when you are handed a piece of paper or can add Mississippi College to your resume.
As MC students, we should readjust our outlook and view our college as it is: a place of higher learning…not McDonald’s.
– Mallory Hudson, Opinions Editor