April 13, 2009

The kids are alright

Or at least Hana is.

She's one of York's official student bloggers and her entries on the student blog YUBlog are always worth reading.

First of all, I really like her response, Are we really that stupid, to the Toronto Star's article Profs blast lazy first-year students.

The Star article is fairly typical "kids today are all lazy and dumb" overstatement. That's not to say that it doesn't make some pretty good points about problems in high school education or the cult of self esteem that pervades a lot of educational theory. It does. But similar problems have always plagued us as a society. Undergrads have always been lazy and unmotivated, overconfident and looking for shortcuts. New technologies haven't changed that, only given birth to new ways for those tendencies to manifest.

Enough of me, here's Hana:

Now I’m not sure what to make of all this - it seems like every generation of teachers says that this young generation is truly hopeless and clueless, since the beginning of time. But there is something to be said about how easy it is to slack off with the help of a laptop and Wikipedia, and there is also something to be said about parents who are too nice to enforce some discipline during high school.


Unprepared or not, there are resources on campus for students who want to use them. Study workshops, writing centres, extensive disability services, one-on-one academic counselling, library research classes, and professors themselves are there for you. If you put in the effort and are in a program you’re passionate about, there’s no need to worry.

Hey, Hana, thanks for the shout-out to the Libraries!

And speaking of books, I also like her Best 10 things I’ve read in university:
3. Maus I and II - Art Spiegelman

Maus is an amazing, amazing graphic novel about a Jewish family’s experiences during World War Two. All the characters are presented as humans in animal masks - the Jewish characters are mice, the German characters are cats, the French are frogs, the British are fish, the Russians are bears, the Americans are dogs, you get the idea. It’s really disorienting and almost makes you forget you’re reading a children’s story instead of nonfiction. Maus took thirteen years to complete, and is based on the stories told to Art Spiegelman by his father, Vladek Spiegelman. It’s a really wrenching read, something that you come back to compulsively between meals and sleeps.

And another shout-out to the library for item 9!

In any case, I do think it's too bad that she was able to get through four years of Creative Writing without reading any science or technology books that really grabbed her, but what can you do. I'd be interested to hear which Natural Science course she took. If you're reading this Hana, drop me a line for some good suggestions to take out from Steacie!


Hana said...

Wow, thanks for your nice comments! It's true, I haven't had a chance to read that many science or technology books - my NATS requirement was about the first and last exposure I got to the natural sciences. I took Life Beyond Earth, which for the most part was about everything EXCEPT life beyond earth (though I did manage to weasel in an essay about cow abductions by UFOs). I should be asking you for Steacie library suggestions :)

- Hana

John Dupuis said...

Thanks for dropping by, Hana. Right now we have a display of books on green technologies, most of which are at a pretty accessible level.