This isn’t high school: Trust is a two-way street

This is what happens when a writer gets fired up about the importance of professionalism and administrative trust. My opinion, based on my college experience.

Originally printed in The Hastings College Collegian Vol. 120 Issue 24 p. 6

May 11, 2017

Opinion

I love Hastings College; I have always had unique opportunities, like publishing my own book of poetry and interning in Ireland for a month. But, as I became an upperclassman I noticed a trend. HC is caught in a vicious circle of unprofessional students and an administration that doesn’t want to trust any student with professional responsibilities.

As a graduating senior, I’ve begun assessing my time at HC and am worried about the experiential opportunities that future students may be denied. One of the first things you learn with any job search is that experience is essential, but we are not getting this experience because of this cycle.

College is supposed to be a student’s opportunity to learn as an adult. The awkwardness of puberty has passed and is replaced by a deeper curiosity about many aspects of life. This is the curiosity that should lead us to become leaders in our education, asking questions and searching for the answers, taking on more responsibilities. College is our chance to experiment and make mistakes with people to help us ease the consequences and clean up the resulting messes. It is this ownership of the consequences of our actions that helps build trust. We need the trust of peers, professors and the administration for success.

Rather than embrace college as a first step into the professional world, more and more students have been treating it like another four years of high school, where the teachers hold your hand through each assignment.

I am tired of the administration treating me like a high schooler, and I am insulted by their lack of trust, but not surprised. If I was an administrator, how could I be trusting of college students when I don’t see them taking their jobs seriously?

Post-secondary education is a profession. When filling out surveys and forms for the past four years, my job title has been “student.” If being a student is my profession, then my professors and administrators are my bosses. If I want to be promoted, then I must prove that I’m worthy of a promotion. In the real world, your bosses aren’t going to coddle you. They are going to expect you to be able to do your work as independently as possible. The more they have to help you, the more time taken away from their more important responsibilities.

Unlike the real world, at HC we are not allowed to oversee much of the financial side of our organizations. Even as a president of one of the honoraries on campus, I had to contact my advisor to request to know our financial standing or deposit money in our account. We are lectured about the importance of money and financial responsibility every time we want to access accounts.

I may not have as much experience as they do, but I am an adult nonetheless. I pay for food, rent, utilities, and other bills. I balance school, work, extracurriculars and friends, all while learning to take care of my mental health, too. I know the importance of money management.

I do the best I can, but sometimes I need a little extra help, and I’m fortunate enough to have access to resources. If I’m in danger of missing a payment, my parents will help me out, which is more help than many students at HC get. I know many students who are completely independent and are still treated like children by the college.

As I said before, college is supposed to be a safe place to make mistakes and learn hard lessons on a smaller scale. We can’t learn proper money management if we’re never allowed to actually see and handle the money from the organizations we lead. Over the past four years, I have learned that trust is very hard to regain once lost, and we are losing the trust of the administration for future students who deserve the experiences and opportunities that we have enjoyed. This is an institution of learning. Let us learn.

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