Should University Students Be Responsible For Their Own Actions?

“The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits.” — Albert Einstein

I am working at the University of Manitoba right now and I am in an Administrative Assistant position. In this position I help the student advisors answer any of the standard questions students may have.  We also email registration packages and other material to students so they are ready to register for their classes in the upcoming semester.

Your Student ID And Email Address

Once you apply and get accepted into university you will receive a new email address that professors and staff members like me will use to send you information. Working at the university has exposed me to all of the behind the scenes administrative aspects, and I am shocked to find out how many students don’t check their university email! The best part about this is their excuse;

Me: “Hi Bob, I’m calling from the University of Manitoba to follow up with you for your re-write date for your supplemental exam.  We sent you an email about it four weeks ago.

Student: “You did? I didn’t get that email.”

Me: “Actually you did, we sent it to your student email. The one the university gives you upon acceptance. Your professors use it and you are supposed to use it to hand in assignments. I have a record of it here on my end saying that the email was successfully delivered to that account.”

Student: “Oh, well I don’t check that email account…”

Me: (silent head shake)…

I was a student not too long ago, and when I’m paying big bucks on tuition, I make darn sure that I check the email account they give me so I don’t miss important things like their registration package.  I was also pretty lazy, so I set up my university email so it would forward incoming messages to my personal email account.  I couldn’t believe that students actually gave that as an excuse when they missed important emails!

Luckily my boss is on the same page as me when I don’t give students a second chance if they fail to check their university email.  They are a grown up now and we shouldn’t be there to hold their hand. That should stop in high school if you ask me, but in today’s world, I guess we aren’t that lucky.  If we send information to a student, such as an exam re-write date, and they miss it, then we would count that as a no show and they would receive an F for it.

The Lessons Learned

Once you are in University you are considered a “grown up”, I don’t care if you’re 17 or 18.  If you are a student just starting out, just remember that universities will generally treat you like a number.  You will not get special treatment because you are new or from out of town. You may catch a break from time to time but if you do, you’re lucky.  Another thing that universities really hate is when students “play the system”.  If you miss an exam and sweet talk your advisor into deferring it then good for you. However, it goes in your record and if you are a repeat offender then your luck will run out.  Chances are you may need to use your “wild card” in your last year when something serious does come up causing you to miss an exam. If your record is full of cases where you play the system, you will probably be denied any exception.

Welcome To The Real World

The great thing about university is that it is a major eye opener for those students who got “pushed through” the high school system their entire life.  Professors don’t care if you show up to class or not and they don’t care if you fail either.  There is nothing your parents can do to help you out, even though they are probably the ones that paid for your tuition. I saw these types of students who normally take advantage of the system get stomped on in university while I lived in residence.  As a staff member at the university, I am betting I will see much more of this in my future.  My advice to all new students: don’t think you’re special because despite what your teachers, parents, or your guest speaker said at graduation, you are not special.  Life isn’t fair and you will be expected to work hard and earn your credits in university. Grades aren’t given out just for the sake of passing you anymore, you’re in the real world now, so be ready to study hard for the real thing.

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11 years ago

Irresponsible behavior is not limited to college students. I see it with adults all the time. My fellow teachers do not check their email nor respond to requests via email or otherwise. It doesn’t make it better that it is widespread, but it is reality!

11 years ago

The random gene pool never ceases to amaze me. No matter what age, incompetence runneth over.

But I get your point. If students grow up when they should, that incompetence begins to fade. So kudos for you for enforcing strict policies. Let’s hope those who have missed emails learn from their mistakes!

-Christian Losciale

11 years ago

Hell yes students should be responsible for their own actions. I sure as hell was and it made me grow up and mature faster than all those other students babyed by their parents. I feel your pain though, students can be ridiculous sometimes!

11 years ago

Simply, yes students need to be responsible for their actions. I know one guy right now who waited too long and now can’t find a place to live, he waited too long and can’t get the classes he needs. And now all he does is complain about how school requires so much. I hate to think how he is going to handle himself after graduation.

I heard that university is considered a social moratorium for some people who aren’t ready for the “real world”. It is these students who are the ones you are talking about.

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