I recently attended my first Association of College Unions International (ACUI) conference this past March in Boston. Needless to say the experience was eye opening, and filled with copious amounts of knowledge from new and seasoned professionals in the field of student affairs. Within this experience I was able to attend various workshops wherein I received many resources. One such resource was a book entitled “Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men” by Michael Kimmel.
Upon my return from the conference I purchased the book for myself and began to read it. Certainly, the author illustrates various issues that plague the current student population, and cause these students to accept the responsibilities of adulthood at later and later ages. One such issue centers in career development. Indeed, as written in this book, many students that we currently work with have grown up with the notion that they are entitled to a wonderful, fulfilling, and high income job based primarily on wants rather than the skills it takes to get to the career of their dreams. It should be noted that this sense of entitlement spreads across the generation and does not exclude based upon gender. Undoubtedly, in my opinion male and female students both feel this entitlement with regards to their future careers.
It seems students today have no real knowledge of the grunt work one needs to take on in order to reach a job which provides the level of success they desire and feel they deserve. Have our students truly become this entitled with regards to job? If so, then what can we as practitioners do to help them recognize what it takes to make it “big”? I often worry that my students will face a certain situation in their lives which will cause them to recognize their unrealistic expectations with regards to career that will leave them feeling disillusioned about career development. I know I try to work with this sense of entitlement by educating my students into recognizing the hard work, dedication, motivation, perseverance and education jobs in this day and age require, but I often feel as though I hit a brick wall.
I then have to ask myself what else can be done to help these students. Do we as practitioner’s need to just watch them make their mistakes in order to recognize what it takes to make it “big”? Furthermore, as students did we have these same unrealistic expectations about careers and believe in instant gratification therefore determining that this is a normal stage in their development as adolescents? As can be noted there are many questions left to be answered but ultimately it all begins with educating ourselves in the hopes of educating our students.
Juhi Bhatt works as a Career/Transfer Counselor and Coordinator of Judicial Affairs at Bergen Community College.