University of Phoenix
GEN/200: FOUNDATIONS FOR GENERAL EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS February 25, 2013
Students transitioning from high school to college today face many challenges. They are besieged by a host of external influences that may shape or cloud their ability to take responsibility. These influences include family, friends, religious beliefs, personal biases, and socioeconomic background. Even though these external influences seemingly dictate the decisions we are able to make, personal responsibility ultimately is an individual’s ability to respond to the ever-changing influences presented in life in a mature and reasonable way, employing the sum of our knowledge and experience and our willingness to accept and be held accountable for the consequences of our actions.
Doherty (1998) argues that society’s increasing refusal to hold individuals accountable for their actions and a tendency to blame others for the individual’s circumstances are a concerning trend. Doherty (1998) cites the tragic Jonesboro, Arkansas shooting in 1998 as a case in point, where two teenagers opened fire on students at a middle school. His article examines the reactions of the political and intellectual classes at the time and their unwillingness to place responsibility on the perpetrators, instead blaming all of us individually and collectively. Personal responsibility, however, must begin with a smaller, individual action. For example, for students to attain any level of success in college, they must accept responsibility for the decisions they make every day. These decisions will include when to study and for how long, when to go to class, what type of job they need, and how they will socialize. Nontraditional or adult returning students face the same challenges but have more experience in handling these issues in most cases than traditional students. This experience, their...