The Fabulous Familiar

Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


One of my professors posted a link to a news story about the University of Central Arkansas's new wake-up call feature for its students. The university apparently signed a $11,000 yearlong contract with a Maryland-based company that provides students with wake-up calls and various other test reminders throughout the day. As of the last report, 121 students had signed up so far after the announcement had been made. They expect many others to follow suit.

The student center director compared the service to a hotel concierge and said it would be very helpful to freshmen especially who "are away from home for the first time and don't have parents around making sure they get out of bed for school."

I feel like this is one more coal in the fire surrounding the assertion that this generation doesn't want to grow up. As if your mom calling all of your college professors to ask them about your assignments isn't embarrassing enough; now we have decided we need our college to wake us up too. Imagine the excuses that will come: "I'm sorry Dr. Smith, but Snoozeter set my alarm wrong this morning and forgot to tell me I had your test today."

There are these cool little things called alarm clocks that someone invented. Also, most university bookstores sell planners. The cool thing about planners is you can-- get this-- write down when you have a test on -- gasp-- the day you have it.

I was in one office on campus recently, which shall remain nameless, and some helicopter mother called the secretary asking all of these questions for her twenty-something son. When the secretary reported to the guy in charge, he simply said, "Tell the mother to have her son call me and we will work it out. I don't want to talk to her, I want to talk to her son."

Though this sounded a bit harsh and the secretary didn't really know how to properly phrase that to the mother, I found it quite interesting--especially in respect to this topic. The man realized that there comes a time when you have to learn to fight your own battles; you have to start with waking yourself up on time and then expand that into getting a job, keeping that job and making something of your life.

In my opinion, what this teaches kids is that they will always have someone catering to their needs. What boss in corporate America is going to call you at 7:00 a.m. to wake you up for the office meeting? Who wants a spouse that will forget to pick up the kids from school because you didn't call to remind them every day?

I feel like, to the generations that paved the way for education, college was a time for growth in all facets of life. I often feel like my peers and those under me go to college because it's a fad. Like paying $100,000 for an education is equivalent to buying Ugg boots in 2008.

Though I would be lying if I said that every class piqued my interest and that my attitude toward learning was always what it should have been, I still feel like college is a time for change; it is a time to dig deeper into yourself and find out what you believe. It challenges what you always thought you knew and teaches you that you are capable of so much more than what you told yourself growing up.

This is a call for our society to cut the apron strings, so to speak. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great." I feel like, in some instances, people only live up to your expectations for them. Is it any wonder then that our society sends kids to college with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the next second calls them lazy and incapable?

I think, though this story is very small in the grand scheme of things, it is indeed an alarming wake-up call of its own.


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