I know I have many readers who are either in high school or in college, and I want to address them in this post.
Dear younger generation, you are wonderful kids who will do great things and make the world a better place. I meet so many amazing young folks both in real life and online that it makes me proud to share a planet with you. Leah Jane, Jamie (voxcorvegis), Pen, Benoni, Miriam, Brittany Ann, Lindsay are some of the young people who amaze me with their maturity, brilliance, and sincerity. I’m an educator, so I love young people (in a totally non-creepy way) and believe in them.
I have to tell you, however, that one thing that might prevent you from achieving the greatness you deserve is not your politics, your sexuality, your life choices, the MTV, the social networks, or video games. It’s sloppiness.
Let me explain. I have really phenomenal students this semester. I grumble sometimes, but the truth is that they are great. They all have a lot of insight and curiosity. But, God, the carelessness is killing me.
On Wednesday, I received 56 final essays from my students. I had exhorted them on numerous occasions to observe the following format requirements:
- Times New Roman 12 pt font,
- 1 inch margins on all sides,
- page numbers in the right-hand corner of the page,
- nothing should be bold-typed,
- nothing should be italicized except the title of a novel.
Can you guess how many people out of 56 managed to fulfill all of these requirements?
One. A single person.
The requirements are listed in the syllabus, I explained them in class both in English and Spanish on at least 4 occasions, I showed two PowerPoints listing them, I wrote them on the board, I prepared a handout listing them, and I gave out a check list the students could use before submitting the essay. I also explained in detail why observing this format was important and why it would be a personal courtesy to me to observe it.
I don’t think I could have done more, yet I only managed to get through to a single individual. And this is not an isolated situation. This happens all the time.
This kind of carelessness makes one come off as disrespectful and lazy even when one is neither. In my experience, people who end up winning in the competition of life are not the most brilliant ones or the ones with the best people skills. It is always the ones who have the best attention to detail and who are the most careful, punctual, and meticulous. And this works both in one’s professional and personal life.
Let’s work together to eradicate carelessness and sloppiness as the nasty pests that they are!