Our friend Francis Wooby from Iqaluit, in Canada’s far north, questions the organizational skills and work ethic of some PR students, laments how some professors cave in to student complaints about workload, and links both thoughts to our discussion of the PR agency “sweatshop” myth.

Comments

  1. It’s unfortunate that you think of it this way, Francis.

    Teachers aren’t going to chase after students for late assignments, and they’re not going to give out failing grades just because they’re a day or two late. It just makes their lives that much more difficult in the long run, and it doesn’t allow for teachers to assign fair grades. Student 1 might write a better press release than Student 2, but Student 1 hands his work in late every time. Does that make him a poor student? In my opinion, it just means he’s not punctual, which should not reflect on his work.

    Just about everyone will probably disagree, but that’s OK. That’s just my opinion.

  2. Terry Author

    I’d have to line up in the Wooby camp on this one. In survey after survey among clients, “meeting deadlines” outranks virtually every other client expectation of their agency. It’s all about time management…

  3. Chris,

    I completely agree with you that good teachers recognize and work with the different strengths of their different students. I’m sorry if I gave you a different perception.

    What I’m against are students not fully committing themselves to what is, in a way, the full-time job of being a student (Part-time students, of course, excepted.).

    Much like good employees need to think beyond the 9 to 5, Inbox to Outbox rut, good students should not limit their idea of learning to assignments, classes and tests.

    These things are only parts of the learning experience. There are others which might not be as quantifiable, but which are certainly just as valuable.

    And included among these is developing the ability to assess the work required of you and come up with a plan to get it done well, and on time.

    Yes, Student 1 might always write brilliant, but late assignment. And Student 2 might be perpetually punctual yet painfully prosaic.

    Let’s say,though, for the sake of argument, that it’s a RFP response they’re each putting together. Student 1 might have do an incredible job, but does it matter if he or she doesn’t met the deadline?

    What potential client is going to be impressed by someone who can’t even be on time to bid on work?

    Now I’m not trying to be a jerk, nit-picking about classmates who were late once in a while. Life happens, and I’ve never faulted profs for accommodating this.

    I’m talking about those who just aren’t being reasonable. Those who don’t see why PR students should have to at least look at the newspaper once in a while. Those who’ve had six months to work on a three page paper but get “too stressed out” working on it the night before it’s due to finish it. And those who insist on taking up as much class time as possible airing their grievances and telling the instructors how they should be doing their jobs.

  4. Can’t say I disagree with you on those points, Francis.

    A lot of people go to school, be it for PR or law or nursing, and end up figuring out soon after that it’s not for them. I suspect that the students who can’t be bothered to check due dates for assignments and the like won’t make it past their entry-level jobs in PR, if that.

    Like I say in my upcoming commentary on IPR 25, some people just need something to do after university or college to focus their career path. Not everyone is actually interested in PR – heck, some don’t even know what it stands for coming in (press release?)

  5. Unfortunately, this still leaves us more decided students with this disgruntled, disruptive set who in far too many cases diminish the overall quality of the classes for everyone else.

    For PR and every other subject, I think that schools might do better by establishing a more comprehensive application process in which interested students are given a more thorough idea of what’s expected from them, hard parts and all. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to sign on.

    And for those who do come on board expecting the bar to be lowered for their comfort and convenience, they should become well acquainted with the letter “F” and the digit “0.” Diplomas, degrees and certificates have to mean something, and should not just be very costly, but otherwise undeserved, licenses we use to apply for good jobs.

    This, I feel, might help to produce grads with a more realistic grasp of the demands they’ll face in the working world. The boss won’t automatically be classified as a slave driver because they expect you to ignore the clock temporarily when there’s a frenzy of work to get through.

    Plus, more attention to academic integrity and student guidance would, I think, ensure that more graduates possess the skills, knowledge and disposition to succeed.

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