Turn entitlement into change

October 21st, 2014



We are the “Entitled Generation.”


Some call us “lazy, needy and narcissistic.” Members of Generation Y, those born between the early 1980s and the mid 1990s, share this stereotype.


The critics of our generation are partially correct.


Some Gen-Y (or “Millenials”) fit this description, but not all. It’s time we changed that.


If you are searching for a Millenial guilty of entitlement, look no farther than Jameis Winston. The Florida State quarterback is facing sexual assault allegations, stole items from a supermarket and shouted a lewd phrase from a table in an FSU student center. Yet he carries an air of entitlement because he is a gifted quarterback at a school with a big football program.


That’s not to say that all athletes are entitled, or that athletes are the only ones whoact this way.


Even at John Carroll, we have an entitlement issue. We’re like many other colleges with students who think they are owed something.


Many of us feel we’re owed something. We pat ourselves on the back, thinking we’re special simply because we’re in college.


The world owes us nothing.


It’s a harsh reality, but then again, the world can be a cruel place.


Human beings have rights, but that doesn’t mean we always receive them. At a most basic level, we have the right to life, food, water and shelter. At the same time, millions around the world are starving. Millions are homeless.


We call the United States the best country in the world. Thanks to our Founding Fathers, a just government is in place to uphold our rights, including to the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


Yet 46.5 million Americans live in poverty and seven million U.S. households are “food insecure,” according to Being an American citizen does not entitle you to a happy or easy life.


Injustice occurs daily across the globe. Ebola is rampant in west Africa and ISIS is spreading through the Middle East. Every two minutes, an American is sexually assaulted ( and every hour an American dies as a result of homicide (


Do we ever stop to think about these things? Rarely. We prefer to complain about how long we have to wait in line or how slow the person in front of us is driving.


Don’t mistake this column as a rant. I’m not decrying the state of society, just pointing out a problem we have with entitlement. This isn’t just a John Carroll problem or even a Millenial problem. This is a societal problem.


So how can we fix it?


It’s simple: change begins with you and me.


One quote fits this mantra perfectly. The statement comes from Victor E. Frankl, an author I read in high school. “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”


Let’s follow his advice. We can’t change the larger situation, so let’s change ourselves.


We have been given an opportunity to attend one of the best small universities in the Midwest, if not the country. We may all be saddled in debt when we graduate, but we will have the world at our feet.


It’s time to get to work and stop expecting everything to be handed to us.


Let’s seize our opportunity to change the world for the better. Our time is coming. We have to be ready. Let’s work hard and not take anything for granted.


I’m not a huge fan of LeBron James, but I loved one quote from his article announcing his decision: “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given, everything is earned. You work for what you have.” While this is true in Cleveland, it is also true for every city and every country.


If we want something better, we should reach out and grab it.


Let’s lose our sense of entitlement. It’s time to stop complaining and start changing the world.