Choada Salinas, Contributor
You’re bored. You think the teacher is stupid. You’re wishing your phone had a stronger vibrate — just to make things more interesting. You keep getting text messages. You can’t help yourself. you try to hide it under your desk. you think the teacher won’t notice. “omg school sucks lol” Yeah, school does suck. And it’s your own fault, you snotty little twerp.
It used to be that only smart people pursued college degrees. But over the course of time, college degrees became like high school diplomas. You had to have one — unless you wanted to pump gas for a living. (And I’m pretty sure you have to live in Oregon to pull that off anymore.) The past 30 to 40 years have witnessed a chain of causally related events that culminate in your fucked-up, entitled attitude. Americans started to believe they deserved all the rewards of society without actually having to contribute. This caused standards to plummet; students now think that sitting their fat, lazy asses at those uncomfortable desks constitutes the necessary effort not only to earn a degree but also “A” grades, a movie star spouse and an instant six- figure salary upon graduation. This rampant stupidity is directly related to something I call “trophy syndrome.”
It used to be that kids grew up winning and losing. Losing made them try harder. Well, sometimes they would commit suicide. But weakness and stupidity are logarithmically related; they amplify each other and really should be bred out of society anyway. So losing was a good experience all around. Children and adults alike learned from the experience. They learned how to correct their mistakes and how to improve. They fell, they got up, they tried again. Perhaps they tried something else. They learned what they could do, what they should do and, more importantly, how to grow from their many inevitable mistakes. Occasionally winning was often a consequence of repeatedly losing.
you used to get a trophy for being a winner. It was a reward for being smarter, stronger, more talented, and especially for putting forth a greater effort. But now everyone gets a trophy for everything. Your simpleton parents worried so much about your pathetic self-esteem that “not winning” ceased to be losing. You still got a trophy. You got rewarded for sucking — and not for sucking anything worthwhile.
Now you’re in college. You think you don’t need to pay attention. You think you don’t need to come to class. You think the homework doesn’t apply to you. You don’t even think that you need to do your own work when you actually do turn something in; copying and pasting Wikipedia works just fine for you. This is all just the 13th through 16th grade to you.
Put simply, in words that your chewed-gum pea- brain can grasp: If that’s what you think, then you are not only mistaken, but you are an idiot. Moreover, you are a hazard to the rest of us. It was people just like you (and probably your damn moron parents) who got suckered into purchasing
variable interest mortgages on houses that were at least double the size you actually needed. Greed times stupidity equals entitlement. If your parents are underwater on their mortgage, I bet they chucked a room full of your trophies on their way to the trailer park. They thought that they deserved something they did not earn. They got played by smarter people taking advantage of that sense of entitlement. I’m not saying those smarter people weren’t assholes — they were. But they are assholes with bank accounts full of your money: your college fund, your parents’ retirement, your 12-year-old sister’s rhinoplasty-boob job combo special. Considering everyone in that equation, who do you think was paying attention in class?
In the end, it’s up to you. No matter what your parents did or did not do, it is still your responsibility to work for what you get. Don’t come into class thinking that you deserve anything but an opportunity to learn. I know for a fact that your teachers are sick of this shit, too. Your ineptitude is no longer going to suffice. Even if you have “also ran” trophies and ribbons scattered about your childhood home, the world owes you jack shit. In fact, you owe the world your best effort to make it a better place. If you want to blow that off and be a permanent nincompoop, that’s fine. But don’t complain about what you don’t have if all you ever tried to be was a participant.