It was fun answering the questions of newbies in school—until it stopped being fun and instead became a plague everyone wanted to avoid. Who doesn’t feel irritated when you’re being bombarded with questions that could have been answered right away if only the student tried harder to seek other resources?
I recently came across a Facebook post where a professor “humiliated” a college student who seemed to have a penchant for asking questions which, according to the prof, were really “basic”. The prof went on about how spoon-feeding has become typical of every college student these days. That even with the presence of so many digital resources, the students have become accustomed to just asking how to do this and that.
I do not categorically deny that I’ve been in the same situation before. As a college student during the first half of the 2000s, I only had rare opportunities to peruse the Internet’s plethora of information on just about anything a particular homework required. Back then, the Internet was a luxury that only those who did not go to boarding houses could easily afford.
I remember having to ride a jeepney to take me to a community library and asking the librarian to get me books that were already gathering dust on their shelves. Because of the level of difficulty we had in obtaining resources, me and my classmates would often resort to “ambushing” professors we meet in the hallways. Yes, we were those leeches who automatically attached themselves to profs as they made their way to their respective classes.
My instinct to become self-reliant only kicked in when I was already halfway to earning my degree. I realized the gravity of my school responsibilities when I was already finding it hard to budget my time. I realized I couldn’t possibly catch up with my lessons unless I took the initiative of doing advanced readings and actually researching on the subject.
It was exhausting, yes. But I didn’t really take all credit for my college life success. Every once in a while, I would find myself asking really dumb questions that probably even a seventh grader could answer. Today, I still find myself not bothering to do my own research and instead relying on a series of question-and-answers with someone blessed with ounces of patience. I blame it on the fact that I believe people are much wiser these days and that they will always be proud to display their knowledge for everyone to see. Take Facebook posts, for example; the informational ones, anyway.
Still, not all people enjoy being the walking encyclopedia that everyone can conveniently get answers from. I found some of them insist on urging the questioner to find the answers themselves. I think it is a defiance of those who have learned to rely on the old school technique of researching to avoid being “exploited” by the lazy ones. And I think this is a valid point. I mean, sure, it won’t hurt to be asked a thing or two, but to exhaust all your energy into providing details of your homework is just insane.
Indeed, self-reliance as an important life skill has become a rarity among college students who are expected to experience “real life” scenarios before they enter the actual, cruel world. The value of hard work has diminished in the recent years, which can be attributed to the fact that we’re living in an age where everyone is dependent on technology.
Instead of envy, I feel pity for those who have devalued library research to favor instant Google answers. When someone asks, “Ano ‘yun?”, the other person will just say, “I-Google mo”, as if every important life question is readily answerable by a single click on a search engine.
The impending death of actual libraries can be blamed for this digital generation who wants everything done in a matter of minutes. Needless to say, the “eureka!” moment after gruelling hours of study has dissolved in thin air. You can no longer claim that proud moment when you’ve made a breakthrough or simply came up with a novel answer because everything you have produced, you owe to someone—or something—more hardworking than yourself.
Has relying on ourselves become so exhausting that we have to resort to spoon-feeding and instantaneous technology? We call ourselves grown-ups, yet we haven’t really tried rolling our sleeves and working with our own bare hands. Nonetheless, I hope this batch of incoming college students will put a premium on self-reliance and be able to produce graduates who have what it takes to survive the challenges of today’s world.