Column by Hallie Beard, Opinion Editor
As a senior in college, I’m fully aware of what it means to be disappointed in myself.
Like plenty of other students, I’ve had my fair share of late papers, incomplete assignments and skipped classes. I’m not sure how we’ve all accepted these things as a “norm” for even successful students (or maybe it’s just me), but the accumulation of these trip-ups and failures have caught up with my embarrassingly dismissive and narcissistic psyche.
If you’re like me, you’ve justified these seemingly insignificant shortcomings with bloated statements about your attributes: “Yeah, I did a terrible job on that reading summary, but I’m a good person. Will it matter in five years if I got a C in this class as long as I’ve got a good heart and sometimes wonderful though usually mediocre attitude?”
Or you make unfounded excuses for yourself: “I should have written a better paper, but I needed some me-time this weekend. Unlike every other weekend before this one, I was ready for a break on Friday – a three-day break in which I did nothing productive and spent too much money on things I could have done without. But hey, I deserved it.”
Look, I’ve got news for myself and for you, and it isn’t good.
Here it is: you – and I mean you, me, every student in this self-destructive boat at Murray State – did not deserve it, whatever “it” consisted of. And yes, it could certainly matter in five years if you got a C in a class you constantly slacked off in despite your good-person-ness, because guess what? That professor can’t honestly write you a recommendation when you need it.
Let’s face it – would you even be able to write yourself an honest recommendation when you needed it?
Keep in mind that resumés and recommendations are documents that speak to your accomplishments. This means your jobs, your awards, your products and achievements. Funny enough, these are usually void of a space to enter “Good Person,” “Active Thinker” or “Good at Making It Through Each Day.”
Don’t get me wrong – you should still want to be nice, compassionate, selfless, whatever you consider the ingredients of your Good Person soup to be. But if you don’t have anything to show for those wonderful qualities, you’re going to have a hard time convincing anyone to invest in you after graduation.
As Golda Meir, first female prime minister of Israel said, “Don’t be so humble. You’re not that great.”
By completing assignments and also being a decent person, you’re not doing anything noble. In fact, you’re only doing the bare minimum of what is asked of you as a college student. Your degree, and hopefully your morals, require you to do these things.
Now, I’m not one of those millennial-bashers who talks about how we all grew up getting participation trophies, because honestly, it doesn’t matter now how you grew up. Employers will not take the time to ask you, an adult, about the subtle damaging awards of your upbringing. They’ll take a glance at your resumés and make a decision on whether or not you can do the thing they’re asking you to do.
Your actions, not your hopes or mind, will speak up and answer them.
This may seem like an insensitive rant directed at you, tender reader, but trust me when I say this is a message to myself first. A few years ago, I made it a one-year goal to submit an article to Cracked.com and a five-year goal to get published on it. Go ahead, check the website – you won’t find my name on there, and I can tell you I haven’t submitted.
If there were a space to publish “Good person and writer has thought a lot about submitting amazing article,” it would be there. Unfortunately, that’s not how it all works.
So, take it from me and make a decision. Are you going to do what needs to be done or aren’t you?