Turn your brains on, and your laptop off

There was a story in the news two weeks ago about a Valdosta State University college professor who was fed up by a female student's ceaseless fiddling on her computer during his lectures, so he ended the distraction by casually strolling up to her desk and slamming the laptop closed. The student, who was flabbergasted by the professor's shocking mojo, filed assault charges, claiming her pinky finger was allegedly injured in the fray.  The once popular professor was arrested, released on bail and later suspended from his job.

I'm sure it wasn't the professor's intent to harm the student, but I can honestly understand his frustration regarding this particular student's lack of passion for classroom etiquette.

What bugs me about this story is the student's sense of entitlement; her belief that she can simply ignore the professor and just bang away on her keyboard, not caring  about anyone else or how her behavior negatively affects the energy in class.

Why can't some students understand that college is about more than just showing up?  Why don't you turn off your phones, close your laptops and have some respect for your peers who are in class to learn and not just to be seen?

What's up with this digitally influenced generation, where visceral experience has been replaced by an app on an iPhone?  Practically everywhere you turn on campus you see a student's forehead permanently fixed downward, staring into some kind of gadget.

So, they bring their gadgets to class and rather than be captivated by the professor's keen insight on a subject, some students would rather make status updates on Facebook or send a text about some inane article they read on TMZ.

I'm sure a lot of professors are fed up with this tripe.  Not only do they have to be hyper vigilant about cheating, they are also forced to endure this kind of insufferable foolishness in the classroom.

I often wonder why anyone would choose to deprive themselves of a quality education in order to obsessively rummage through cyberspace looking for that instant gratification of being "liked" on a website.

With cuts in public education, it's hard enough for dedicated students to pay for school, so if you are less than enthused to be present and participate, then maybe that financial aid you were awarded can be used by someone who actually cares about learning, growing and thriving in the real world.

College professors and fellow students are our link to knowledge and experience. They deserve our consideration and respect, in and out of the classroom.

So when you have the urge to text your girlfriend or watch that YouTube video in class, be wary, because next time you might get more than just a bruised pinky.  You may end up with a bruised education.