entitlement -v- asking for help.

2010 August 1 § 1 Comment

In the past few weeks, there have been a couple of instances where I have advised my younger kouhais in MASA to never be afraid to ask for help if they need it. That there is no shame in asking for help, after you have exerted your utmost effort. Knowing when you need advise or aid is a harder thing than being able to do a task perfectly.

But, during the past three weeks as a student in CPU101 at the Art Institute’s online division, one of my fellow students has done a series of things that has truly grated on my nerves.

The thing about taking classes online is that nobody is pushing you to do your work. Sure, there’s deadlines and due dates, but if you don’t do your assignment on time, you really have no one to blame but yourself. You can go to the online classroom in your own time; you can do your homework at any time during the day when you have time. All of the assignments are posted ahead of time so you can work on them earlier, if you know you will need the extra time.

In addition, the school gives an extraordinary amount of aid, in the form of video tutorials, a separate “classroom” that teaches students the software for the class, and instructors who offer a variety of ways to contact them if help is needed.

I know that I’m of a generation when computers are common and normal-use; I’m not denying that I’m very comfortable with technology, and might have an advantage over those who’ve never had to use computers in their day to day lives and in the workplace. However, I also believe that with all of the assignments, readings, tutorials, available tutoring, and whatnot available, that there should not be anyone who does not at least get the basics of a software program (in this case, Excel).

After three weeks and six frustrating emails that consisted of no more than “I don’t know how to do this help me out”, I found this in my inbox:

i hope everyone is happy. now i am with drawing from school no one wanted to help me. Good luck.

Now, I have nothing against people who ask for help if they are having difficulty doing something. But there’s a difference between needing help and believing that you’re entitled to it. Everybody in the class makes an honest effort; I know that some of the others really struggled with the assignments, even though they were relatively easy for me. Even when several people gave this woman advice on where she could go to find help, she really showed no indication that she’d so much as read our required readings, or even the online lectures. It was almost as if she expected us to tell her exactly how to do the assignment, when everything was pretty much spelled out already.

I know what it’s like to struggle with working with a new program. I worked my ass off to figure out the basics of how to use Photoshop, of how to use InDesign; I read tutorials, watched videos, read books, and flipped through magazines for tips, tricks, advice, and shortcuts. I used every available resource to me before I turned to someone else. I’m not perfect, but I can say with pride that I worked very hard to attain the meager level of skill I have.

I’m really disappointed that so many people believe they are entitled to help without having to give their full efforts, first. And when they try to justify their failure on the faults of others, on the “lack of generosity” that they experienced – well, I just have to wonder what they hope to accomplish when they don’t even try to stand on their own too feet before asking someone else to carry them across the finish line.

YOU decide whether you can succeed.
YOU decide if you can attain your dreams.
Whether you reach the stars is a measure of your own effort, your own determination, your own desire to grasp and hold onto your dreams.

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