Kory’s right; we are an entitled generation that followed from many other entitled generations. However, even though we do believe we are entitled to a good education, and we are, we’re not entitled to an easy one. That’s where a lot of new college students misunderstand.
There’s a lot to be said for taking a few “easy A” classes to help keep your GPA up, especially if those classes are not essential to your major (like basket-weaving, or biology if you really are a basket-weaver). You can’t expect every class you take in college to be an “easy A,” though. What would be the point of a degree if even the people who never tried could get one?
I always peruse RateMyProfessors.com before registering for classes, just to see how others view my potential professors. Usually each professor will have a few pages of students writing “The best professor EVER!!!” or a few pages of “Do not take this class from _____ unless you have a death wish.” So most of the time it’s a decent gauge. When the reviews are mostly positive, though, I’m always amazed to see the one disgruntled student and their reasoning.
One student wrote, “She failed me because I only came to her stupid class twice because I couldn’t find someone to babysit my kid!” Now, I know students who are also parents and I commend them for how awesome they are. But you can’t only come to class twice and expect to pass the class, even if you turn all your work in, and even if you have a child.
Within reason, most professors are pretty understanding. They understand you have work and a family and a life (hopefully), and some will work with you on deadlines. You can’t know that, though, unless you ask before you missed the deadline. Introduce yourself to your professors, get to know them, and give them a chance to get to know you. If you’re struggling, they’ll already know you’re trying and want to be a good student.
Now, being a good student doesn’t just yield a great GPA that’s more likely to get you hired. In fact, I think employers look at GPAs less and less these days. Being a good student teaches you to make sacrifices and push yourself beyond what you believe you can accomplish.
In an interview, I asked the mayor of Ogden City, Mike Caldwell, about his academic experience while in college. “I grew up racing bikes and running marathons and triathalons, and college was the longest, hardest race I’ve ever been in,” he replied. “There was no point where I was coasting. You could never take it easy.”
Don’t feel entitled to an easy education in which your teachers make all the exceptions to the rules they said they would never make for anyone for you.
You’ll be in college for at least the next four years. You may as well put all the effort you can into your education, and perhaps you will get more out of it than a great GPA.