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#SAgrad Students: Writing and Googling
March 20, 2014 - 9:02pm

This post might get under your skin. It might provoke you a little bit. If you feel your hackles rising, my apologies. This post is not an indictment of all Student Affairs graduate students. There are many amazing scholars within #SAgrad programs. For the record, I'm mostly referring to our masters level students with this post. #SAgrad students, for the most part, are competent researchers and writers. However, I get an alarmingly high number of inquiries via email from our graduate students that are rife with issues that cause me to take countless amounts of umbrage.

Perhaps this is my "get off my lawn" post. I'm not sure if I've reached that particular genre zenith, but I do know that when I receive emails from our graduate students, I expect a certain amount of professionalism and something that I believe is called "spellcheck." At this year's NASPA Annual Conference, a panel of higher education program faculty emphasized the need for students to be good at writing and even better at articulating questions/thoughts. Well, I get a large amount of emails from #SAgrad students that read like they are from one of those scam emails about a bank, a rich family member, and money that I will never see. These emails are full of grammatical errors, misspellings, and oftentimes, they require a decoder ring. Okay, I know I'm engaging in my usual hyperbolic tendency...but, this is my "lawn" post.

The truth is, I usually overlook a poorly written email and try my best to help out in any way that I can. I'm not the grammar police. If you need a grammar official, email my mother. She's the best!

What really causes me distress is when I get a poorly written email from a graduate student and they are asking me to do their work for them. The emails that I'm getting tend to include a request for "any resources, readings, articles, books, and/or sources" that I can provide for a paper or project that they are working on. Oftentimes, I feel like sending them the link for Let Me Google That For You. It's ridiculous. And, it's not just via email that these types of requests are taking place. Hashtags on Twitter are frequently bombarded with these same types of queries. The saddest part of this for me is that it seems like many are not even bothering with Google searches or (gasp) a more in-depth search on Google Scholar. Whatever happened to doing your own work? I love participating in conversations and learning via social media sites like Twitter, but I also put in a great deal of time conducting web searches for information.

Dear #SAgrad students, you can do better (and most of you already do). Respect the time of the people you are engaging with via email or social media. Ask them questions after you have done extensive research on your own using the tools that we all have access to...Google is your friend. I'm happy to answer questions via email, Twitter, Google+, etc, but please don't ask a question that could be answered in 10 seconds of searching/Googling.

End rant.

 

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