On August 22nd, I changed careers. I moved from being an accountant at the Dakotas UMC to being a professor with Dakota Wesleyan University. While the move was geographically insignificant (200 yards east), the day-to-day has been hugely different. For a the last 3 years, this blog and related YouTube were my primary creative outlet. Now, the vast majority of my day is creative work.
In the video, I give my 3 biggest learnings of becoming a professor. I hope they help you, but I also want to share what I’ve learned about Gen Z that has surprised me.
- Gen Z is our most Eclectic generation: We sometimes play Jeopardy to review for a test. I throw in some fun categories like Accountants who Became Celebrities. Unless it’s wildly popular (like Bruno Mars), there is usually only one student in the class of 14 that knows it. People in Gen Z each seem to embrace their own niche when it comes to entertainment and interests.
- Gen Z actually is respectful: I have been pleasantly surprised by how much respect Gen Z shows to those around them…especially toward professors. I think I feared that students might have an entitled attitude. I was way wrong.
- Gen Z demands applicability: When I think back to when I was in college, most of us would just try to learn whatever was being taught without question why we needed to learn it in the first place. I have to keep reminding myself that for Gen Z, I need to actually make sure I’m teaching something they can use now or in the near future and to let them know this as well.
Overall, the more I’m around Gen Z, the more I’m convinced that they aren’t all that different from Gen X when we were that age. The biggest difference is they have better phones and internet.