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That’s not your deal, that’s not my deal or: We are the 51 percent

By Joe Basco

“When you leave me,
You take away everything.
You take all my money.
You take all my weed.”
-Best Coast

I have been at UNF for approximately five and a half years.

Some of you have prejudged me as an unproductive slacker because of that initial statement. Some of you may have already stereotyped me as an entitled pothead because of the quote I chose to begin with.

I’ll take responsibility and acknowledge I was not the best student early in my college career. I withdrew from and failed many classes. I was simply not mature enough.

But let me tell you a sobering fact. Less than 50 percent of undergraduates complete college at UNF within four years, according to the UNF Institutional Research Pocket Fact Book. This means I am part of the majority of students who perpetuate the You Never Finish stereotype.

The blame could entirely be on us — the majority of students. There are people out there who think my generation demands entitlement. We’re stereotyped as spoiled brats who do little to no work at all. I assure you, we demand nothing. But likewise, we were taught nothing.

I have spoken to various baby boomers throughout my life. They unanimously said their generation has failed my generation. Some of the baby boomers I have talked to are college professors, small business owners or unemployed. They all told me it is up to my generation to fix the world’s problems, yet they offered no solutions.

College is supposed to be this golden opportunity where people can make something of themselves and find a great career after graduation. We are instructed how to be ethical, moral and wise citizens. A brief observation of the “real world” shows that everything gets thrown out the window immediately after college.

If you were to remember just one sentence in this entire column, it is this: I hate college.

I can’t stand the unprofessional rudeness and sub-par teaching ability of some of the professors here at UNF. I will not say names, but I am bewildered that some of these professors still have jobs after experiencing their lectures firsthand or observing their dismal Rate My Professor scores. Note that I say some — not all — professors. There are those who excel at what they are paid to do.

I can’t stand the diminishing opportunities we have after we graduate. There are increasing layoffs in nearly every industry. My major, journalism, is one industry that has been plagued with closed doors. Morris Publishing recently laid off many Florida Times-Union employees just to keep the paper running.

I can’t stand the amount of debt we students get into. I have a student loan well over a thousand dollars. Other students have told me they have to work part-time jobs in addition to attending school full-time and having a student loan.

So here I am, just bitching and moaning, right? Well, someone had to eventually speak out and give the students’ side of the story.

It is unfair to blame only one side for this “You Never Finish” stereotype. It is neither exclusively the fault of students or faculty. Maybe there is a third group to blame.

It is tough to find the root of this problem, but I can’t help but notice the devastating consequences brought about from the half-hearted search for the solution.

It is such an inhuman grind to wake up every morning, attempt to look presentable and arrive to school or work after dealing with traffic that worsens every year. On campus, we wear plastic smiles and tell each other we are feeling great today despite the overwhelming stress and high expectations we have to carry on our shoulders. The moment a problem arises, the blame gets shifted back and forth among everybody but never settles on anybody.

You’re probably thinking I’ve created an alter ego, a Tyler Durden of myself, and go to dive bars and beat myself up. If you read between the lines of either the book or film version of “Fight Club,” you will see that the main character is fighting ideology. Ideology is what kills us.

We are all in this together. Thus, we are all part of a machine that tells us everything is all right, but nothing is right.

At the end of the day, when we go to bed and introspect, are any of us feeling great anymore?

“And nothing makes me happy,
Not even TV or a bunch of weed.”
-Best Coast

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