Please show some respect

Kellie McCown


I have worked at the college bookstore here at LMC since my very first semester back in 2010. I had taken a hiatus in higher education, so when I landed a job on campus I saw it as a great opportunity to break my way back into the intellectual world of higher education. I pictured fellow students coming in, and having thought provoking conversations about religion and politics and topics that are considered to be off limits.

Boy, I was wrong.

Since starting the bookstore, I have been called a racist, a prep, a hippie, a hipster and a b***h in multiple languages. I have been expected to break policies and grant favors without consideration for my own job, and have been given unnecessary attitude in response when I have refused to cave to the demands that are being asked of me.

And I am not alone. One of my co-workers was actually called evil and horrible when she was hesitant to let a customer exchange a math packet, which she ended up doing despite the fact that the customer didn’t have her receipt and it was almost a month past the refund deadline. A far cry from my original idea of what life on campus would be like.

Now, the point of me writing this column is not merely for me to complain about difficult customers. The reason is that I think that the student population has a huge attitude problem, an undeserved sense of entitlement, and lacks respect not only for others, but for themselves too.

And it always seems like a surprise when myself and other student workers on campus are less than thrilled to help someone that comes to the counter and throws a fit about not being able to use their mothers credit card to buy books without written permission, or when a student comes into the bookstore with their music blaring yelling curse words without any consideration for others and gets angry when asked to not use obscene language because there are children in the store. Both of these incidents are true stories, witnessed with my own eyes.

Why do we, college students, act like this?

Well, I think it’s due to a wonderful little term called “self-esteem” that was heavily coined to “Gen Y,” the generation of people that were born between 1980-1997. “Self-esteem” is a psychological term that means that one should evaluate themselves in a positive way. On paper, it’s a great notion. Everyone should feel good about him or herself, and every one person should feel that they have a certain amount of worth.

However somewhere along the line the practice of instilling “self-esteem” into “Gen Y”, we have given birth to a generation that has been so pampered with being told that they are the best at everything, that they now have a sense of entitlement that makes them think that the world owes them something.

A wise man once told me that if someone has a 4.0 GPA, is a top athlete, and get’s crowned homecoming king or queen, it all means nothing if they don’t know how to open a door for someone.

In other words, we lack courtesy because we are so involved with ourselves.

The truth is no one owes anyone anything. The bookstore doesn’t have to keep your favorite candy bar or Arizona tea in stock at all times. We keep those stocked because it’s important to the bookstore to support us, the students, who work hard, study for hours, and for their education and lives. That’s the same reason why we are given financial aid and Cal works. Not because we deserve them, but because we put in the hard work to better our future and ourselves.

We must ask ourselves, as a generation and as future leaders, how do we want the world to see us? How do we want to be respected? Maybe we should start asking ourselves not what our school can do for us, but what we can do for our school.