The Collegian
Saturday, April 13, 2024

Don't be a spoiled Spider: Resist your "AOE"

I was standing in my friend's UFA kitchen last weekend, talking with him about whatever series of unusual events was taking place in each of our respective lives.

My friend was mid-sentence when his face completely disappeared from view; it was replaced by a refrigerator door, which was immediately replaced with a small backwards hat atop a seemingly uncontainable amount of hair.

Being that the friend in question was the apartment resident, it took me a few seconds to register exactly what had just happened.

Upon realization, I tried not to let my absolute appall get in the way of my speech, and I directly addressed the baseball hat wearer. I said, "Excuse me, have you met my friend here?"

He had not.

"OK, maybe you should introduce yourself," I helpfully suggested.

He didn't seem to think the introduction was necessary, but his escape efforts were entirely void.

"This is [friend's name]," I explained, as I slid toward his only escape route. "I think you may have unknowingly pushed them as you walked by them on your way to their beers, in their fridge. While an apology is not at all required, I strongly believe an introduction may be a good idea."

I really am an excellent counselor in these types of situations.

The intruder accordingly paid his dues, but his attitude was one I nonetheless found excruciatingly familiar, and relentlessly disturbing in that familiarity.

It is the attitude of entitlement (AOE), and we all know it well -- it is the "it's whatever" approach toward every situation, be it serious or trivial, whereby a person truly appears to believe that no action committed by him or herself is or can be of any real consequence.

It is what we more bluntly referred to as the "spoiled brat" attitude from ages four through 10, and what we now face on such a painstakingly regular basis that we (often uncomfortably) choose to ignore it.

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The attitude itself is rampant at this campus, although it is quite difficult to pinpoint any culprits in contexts apart from the purely situational ones. I'm personally inclined to believe that most of us are not suffering from any such disorder as the AOE.

In such a case it is unimportant to accuse and vital to pinpoint what and where it is; perhaps the majority of students can aid each other in an effort to completely remove it from our school.

We have all heard the expression "You would THINK that at Richmond they would at LEAST have [enter completely unnecessary luxury item here]." Some readers may even be guilty of saying it from time to time -- hey, I know I have.

This expression, however harmless it may seem, is a symptom of AOE. Some examples of items I have heard inserted in this phrase throughout the past week are the following: "two libraries," "a restaurant open 24-7," "cell service in the library," "multiple on-campus bars," "a bar with a liquor license," and [I kid you not] "an ice rink."

I am not disputing the awesomeness of any of these things when compared with the status quo -- I am disputing the phrasing itself. We do indeed pay a hefty amount of money to attend this college, but this does not mean that these items should be thought of as the "least" we could be offered during our attendance here.

They are extravagancies that would perhaps make sense if placed within Barbie's Dream House or the Playboy Mansion, but not upon a college campus.

Anyone worried about getting their money's worth should take a look around.

We have a top-of-the-line gym and the most advanced scientific equipment in the Gottwald labs. We have professional chefs at our dining hall (no, seriously -- one even won a BBQ rib throwdown against Bobby Flay), and our dessert counter is so elite that it was actually donated by a nostalgic alumna.

Our library is significantly extensive given its size, and whatever resources it lacks it will send out a request to get. Our dorms have a daily cleaning service, and certain dorms (Lakeview) even get their individual suites professionally cleaned on a weekly basis.

Our study abroad program accommodates almost any major and financial situation, and our Career Development Center unquestionably leaves no child behind (so long as you use it).

Our school holds networking opportunities by major and sends out job-searching trips from state-to-state. Laundry is free, and upon graduation we are all allowed to continue using the gym (including FIP classes) and the library for an additional free year.

This is stuff we know. Unfortunately, being presented with so much of it all the time seems to lead us to forget. We live in a utopia for now, but when we move on to the next stage of our lives we will be forced to scramble for what we can barely manage to achieve, and we will look back on our utopian years with a sad sigh and perhaps a "bad word" of regret.

Whether it is a select affected few that infiltrate the attitude into our student population, or whether it is all of us in small ways that come together to create a web of perpetual dissatisfaction for the ultimate spoiled spider, the AOE has become a marked characteristic of the Richmond reputation across community and state lines.

We only deserve what we have earned, and we can only take what we are given. It's high time for a group attitude check before our graduation from this university becomes the reason that a future job interviewer does not call us back.

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