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To expect that would-be final year degree students ought to be able to communicate?

(149 Posts)
drcrab Mon 22-Aug-11 15:08:14

I get a call this morning from someone who purports to be a student going into her final year. She didn't ask for me, didn't tell me who she was, didn't tell me what year/programme of study she was on.... And proceeded to ask me these garbled questions. I didn't know in what context she was phoning about.

I had to interrupt her a couple of times to ask who she was, why she was ringing etc. When she finally told me who she was, I said 'oh I remember you... I approved your change of programme etcetera' to which her reply was 'oh uh yah'. No thank you.

WTF? Do these same 'students' expect to graduate with a 2:1 or higher and earn pots of money immediately? And this from a university that's rather highly ranked.

LineRunner Mon 22-Aug-11 15:10:05

Clearly a career in BT customer service awaits her.

Or my GP's receptionist.

summertimeblews Mon 22-Aug-11 15:16:20

maybe they havent covered common sense and manners on her course yet

HeavyHeidi Mon 22-Aug-11 15:38:09

Ah at least it was her calling and not her mother, that's already progress.

drcrab Mon 22-Aug-11 16:16:59

Very appalling. hmm and of course she also dropped all her 'endings'... Like 'nuffin', 'sumthin'... Grrr.

BootyMum Mon 22-Aug-11 16:23:56

What do you do? Why might she have been calling you? Why were you responsible for changing her programme? [whatever that means..]

i'm sorry but until I understand the context of your AIBU I can't possibly comment.


LRDTheFeministDragon Mon 22-Aug-11 16:24:14

To be fair to her, I doubt she was studying how to be a receptionist!

I know she needs to learn some social skills (!!), but it has bugger all to do with an academic course, surely? Some university profs are the rudest and least socially skilled people I know and it does not impact on their ability to be successful academics.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Mon 22-Aug-11 16:44:27

There are so many courses and careers that you don't need great communication skills for. They don't actually teach you that at University you know, they teach you the thing you are their studying for and like LRD says it's unlikely she was studying to be a receptionist.

drcrab Mon 22-Aug-11 17:04:56

She isn't studying to be a receptionist. But surely everyone needs to be able to communicate, whether you are a store assistant, manager, doctor, no? hmm

On a daily basis I talk to students, staff, bookshop managers, librarians, canteen operators, the children's key workers, the children(?!), DH, neighbors. unless you are a hermit or have taken a vow of silence, surely communicating well is necessary?

As for rude academics, yes they exist. Just like rude receptionists, rude cleaners, rude doctors, rude any-other-job.

RevoltingPeasant Mon 22-Aug-11 17:08:11

As a lecturer, and in response to your thread title, can I just say....

Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha HAAAAAAAAAA.

<wipes eyes>

No, many of them can't. Like the one last year who emailed me asking for the University's 'sort code' because he wanted to write a letter to someone (so many problems with that....).

RevoltingPeasant Mon 22-Aug-11 17:08:30

PS - I think I am one of the rude academics blush

drcrab Mon 22-Aug-11 17:31:03

RevoltingPeasant - yes, too funny init? 'sort code'?? 'sort code'?? shock

and no, it's not really about 'rudeness' (that's an aside)... it's about basic social behaviour. A basic phone call that isn't to a friend/family should consist of an introduction, and a statement of why you're calling, followed by the query/comment. Just like basic email manners.

So, a 'hello, may I speak to drcrab? Hi, I'm so and so and I'm going into the 3rd year of my XX programme. I was wondering if you could help me. blah blah. Can you help/assist me please?'

I'd follow similar lines if I was calling the bank, the supermarket, the nursery, anyone really who isn't a friend or family member!

Difficult? really?

LRDTheFeministDragon Mon 22-Aug-11 17:47:55

But if it's about 'basic' social behaviour why is it relevant this person was a final-year degree student? Unless you wish to bash students?

It just sounds to me as if this was someone quite young, who'd not learned a conventional phone manner. Rude? Yes. Annoying? Yes. Anything to do with academic study? No.

drcrab Mon 22-Aug-11 17:50:41

I'm in the education sector - hence my encounter was with a student. If I had this encounter with a BT call centre person, I'd be ranting about them here.

I wasn't trying to bash students; if anything the fact that she was a final year student was meant to imply that she should have more common sense than say a newbie first year student - ie, she'll be wanting to get a job in the next year, therefore should have abit more about herself than say a fresh A level student.

Nothing to do with academic study - hence why I did follow up with the comment about social behaviour.

cat64 Mon 22-Aug-11 17:58:21

Message withdrawn

bigkidsdidit Mon 22-Aug-11 17:59:26

Oh GOD I teach masters students - all of whom have great a levels and degrees. They fall into two camps - utterly unable to communicate or so cocky and rude I wish they were a bit more awkward. I had to tell one girl off for using horrendous sexist and abusive language about another lecturer today shock

Anyway, I think this is one of the most important things we do at universities, teaching students how to become polite well-rounded employable people!

LRDTheFeministDragon Mon 22-Aug-11 18:00:23

dr, she's a student who has presumably never had a full-time job. Her parents obviously didn't teach her these skills and nor (for perfectly good reasons) did her academic course. So what? She's young.

It's not like these skills are something you gain by magic ... if you're not taught them you don't know them. She'll learn.

Your thread title sounds like yet another student bash, no matter how you dress it up, and the more you try to explain it the more you sound as if you're trying to blame her social background too. Give her a break ffs.

LRDTheFeministDragon Mon 22-Aug-11 18:01:42

cat - yes, but is it a young person's fault if their parents didn't teach them this? Not everyone gets a nice middle-class upbringing.

HooberGoober Mon 22-Aug-11 18:04:03

'Sort code' was probably 'post code' emailed from a phone using predictive text. I mean still no excuse for a) not proof reading and b) not googling it, but possibly slightly less stupid than it originally looked.

drcrab Mon 22-Aug-11 18:12:42

LRD - and where will she 'learn' these skills from then? Should she have signed up for the module 'manners on phone' 101? or 'how to make phone calls' 102? are you suggesting now, that we need to teach telephone manners and skills, at university? really?

I'm not trying to blame her social background ffs. I don't even know what her social background is. All I know is she's a final year student. How do I know this? Because only final year students have to do this particular project that she was ringing about.

bigkidsdidit Mon 22-Aug-11 18:15:13

I think annoyingly it's something you learn at your first job ( or masters project, like my lot).

MumblingRagDoll Mon 22-Aug-11 18:18:22

God. I must make more of an effort to teach my DDs to speak on the phone. blush It'll get as bad as letter writing soon. Totally out of fashion and nobody will know how to do it.

As a freelancer I do almost ALL of my business with people via emal, google talk and Skype. I don't even have to SEE people.

Life is changing...

LRDTheFeministDragon Mon 22-Aug-11 18:22:34

Oh, I don't know, maybe you could tell her?!

It's one thing if you think she was being deliberately rude. Maybe you do? If not, then she has somehow missed out on learning this - maybe her parents don't know either. Some people don't. She will either learn by trial and error, or because someone at the jobcentre will tell her, or because you do.

I don't really follow why you are so shocked.

I get people who email me with things like 'Hi Mrs LRD im relly interested in ur course can u tell me how to apply thanks tilly'.

It doesn't impress me but it's not as if the student is being malicious - just unaware of conventions. So I write back using normal conventions ('Dear Tilly, blah blah, Yours, LRD Surname (Ms)') and they learn to copy it. What's the problem?

drcrab Mon 22-Aug-11 18:40:48

LRD - not shocked, just not impressed by her phone manners. I don't think she was being deliberately rude.

I don't need to defend my AIBU to you anyway.

LRDTheFeministDragon Mon 22-Aug-11 18:47:10

Ok, fair enough.

I didn't suggest you did need to 'defend' your AIBU ... but I think you've kind of missed the point of this section if you think my saying 'Yes, YABU and here's why' is something to get defensive about!

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