Millennial Paralysis Syndrome (MPS)

hallway studentsI have been a college Professor for 40 years. I arrive at the door of my classroom at the top of the hour, exactly when the class is scheduled to begin. When I enter the classroom the lights are on and the students are present in their seats.

Two years ago I first discovered the phenomenon of MPS.   As I walked down the hall I noticed my entire class of was standing around the classroom door. Approaching the window in the door I noticed that the lights were off and no one was inside the classroom. I reached for my keys, assuming that the facilities people had forgotten to unlock the classroom door. Much to my surprise the door was unlocked. I looked back at my students and said, “Didn’t anyone try to open the door?” They just looked back at me in silence.

This has happened 4 times in the past two years but not even once in my previous 38 years of teaching. My question is, “How do a group of people independently arrive at a classroom door and no one even attempts to open it?” Even more important is, “What are the characteristics of people who would be so paralyzed such that not even one of them attempts to turn the door handle?”

I’ve asked some of the students about this but I’m not getting any explanations that satisfy me. One student said that he was the second person to arrive but that when he noticed that the first person hadn’t gone inside he just assumed that the door was locked. Really? Couldn’t he have just tried the door to make sure? Or was he afraid to insult the first student by trying the door? One of my colleagues at the university thinks that this latest bunch of Millennials is “afraid to fail” or “afraid to look stupid” by trying the door in the presence of other students.

If this is the case we need to know why these students are so “sensitive.” Are they losing their one-on-one communication skills due to their dependence on “social media” and cell phones? Have they accepted political correctness to the extent that they won’t even question the judgment of others who are present? I don’t know. I don’t have a clue. However I am concerned about the future of this country. I’m pretty certain that we will require leaders who are at least bold enough to ask another if he has tried to open a door.

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One Response to Millennial Paralysis Syndrome (MPS)

  1. Donna says:

    Dumbing down of American. 😦

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