Instant Gratification

Posted: December 1, 2013 in Education, Humanity, Literature



Though it hasn’t happened recently, it has happened many times before – as soon as students have finished writing a test for me or even an essay, they ask if it’s been marked yet. Sometimes this question comes the day after the test, sometimes a few days later, and sometimes it happens at the end of the same class they just wrote the test in! Hypothesis? Students do not have patience. Reason? We live in an instant gratification society. However, this cannot be blamed on students…we all have less patience than generations before.

A University student posted a status on Facebook asking his friends who wanted to get drunk. His mother (who he inexplicably has on Facebook) posted a comment thoroughly explaining her hopes that, although he was of-age to drink, he was doing so responsibly while now living on his own. Her post wasn’t lengthy (maybe a paragraph, if that), but his response to his mother was the acronym: TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read). Was he too lazy to read a paragraph OR Did he see that the post was from his own mother and couldn’t be bothered? Maybe a little of both. However, it points to our laziness and need for instant gratification. I’ll be honest, I am careful not to make my blog posts too long for fear that readers don’t read to the end.

Anyway, back to students. They want the answers immediately and sometimes are not willing to put forth the effort in attaining it. I can understand wanting to know their grade as soon as possible, but students are the unfortunate products of a “Google Search” society. For instance, students (not all, but some) don’t want to see how the conch shell in Lord of the Flies is symbolic of order – they want to be told. Students don’t want the challenge of figuring out Shakespeare’s language – they want No Fear Shakespeare to translate it for them. Here’s my predicament: I would rather BOTH of the aforementioned over apathy, but then I deal with a new foe: Lethargy.

I’ll say it again, we can’t blame students for this, entirely. We live in a “Google Search” society where having to work for the answers requires very little effort at all – just the click of a button. So, when students are asked to push past this and provide some more mental energy, this becomes a tough task. Students don’t want to think critically because, quite simply, they don’t want to think. We are all products of this in some way.

We all hate waiting in line (post office, Tim Horton’s, cafeteria, etc…), we gravitate towards fast food, waiting at a traffic light can be frustrating, and even waiting for someone to respond to a text drives us crazy. We all desire instant gratification.

Instead of being more efficient (maybe, arguably, we are), we are becoming more lazy. The bigger implications are what happens to the state of education and this new breed of students that we’re developing? What happens to business? What happens to the arts?

  1. dadphat says:

    Well said. I’ll advance this thought if you want to go back and forth.

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