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A Millennial Lecturer in a GEN-Z Class – Episode 6

A millennial lecturer shares his over a decade experience in the academia teaching and supervising most GEN-Z. Welcome on the 10-episode series recollection.
Macaulay, Babajide Milton Ph.D., EMBA
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Welcome to the 10-episode series on my shocking experience as a millennial lecturer teaching Gen-Z students in a Federal University in Nigeria in the last 12 years. It’s a collection of my classroom interactions with a generation of quick-witted, internet-savvy young adults who are “too bold” for their own good. Read episode 5 here.


In the last 5 years, I noticed a behavioural trend among my students. During practical sessions, after introducing the topic, dishing out instructions for the laboratory tasks, and answering any questions posed by the students, I would ask them to spread out to occupy all the lab benches for convenience and easy mobility. While walking around the benches, supervising their activities, I would notice that some of them arrived late and missed the earlier part of my instructions, yet, remained in their seats, looking confused on what to do first.

“Why haven’t you started the first task?”, I asked one of them. Let’s call her, Joyce.

“Ermmm…sir, I arrived a bit late so missed the first set of instructions.”

“Okay. Why then haven’t you asked your colleagues to share with you the information you missed?”

Joyce then paused for few seconds, as if to digest the relevance of what I just said.

“Hmmmmm…..That is true, sir. I will ask one of them now.”

“So if I did not come to you to tell you this, you will just remain in your seat and skip the first task cause you came in a bit late?”

“Not really, sir”, Joyce replied, looking like a guilty offender.

We do not live in isolation. Humans are gregarious in nature and so, we need each other to survive and thrive. If we lose the ability to connect and form bonds, both physically and online, we will be setting up ourselves for a very difficult professional career path.

This has occurred countless times in my classes (especially in cases where class works or lab tasks are to be carried out) and it is becoming worrisome. It appears that Gen-Z students are losing their social skills; the ability to connect with others, start conversations, ask for help or interact with their peers. I can understand if they are hesitant to do so with strangers, but in this case, these are their colleagues; their coursemates! People they see almost every day! So, I am really shocked. In fact, when in class, during their free periods, these students prefer to be on their phones interacting with online friends than trying to establish connections with their colleagues sitting next to them. Since it is easier to interact with people online either by commenting on posts or entering into DMs, most Gen-Zs have resorted to socialising exclusively on the internet while their physical interactive skills die a gradual death! Many of them cannot introduce themselves properly to their peers, hold a conversation, or expand their circle of friendship. The same friends they had since joining the university are the same friends they have by the time they graduate.

Why does this even bother me?

It bothers me because the art of socialising is a key ingredient for post-graduation success. We do not live in isolation. Humans are gregarious in nature and so, we need each other to survive and thrive. If we lose the ability to connect and form bonds, both physically and online, we will be setting up ourselves for a very difficult professional career path. To attain success in a professional setting, you will, most times, be recommended. How would your name be mentioned where it matters if you are always hiding and lack the ability to make yourself seen by socialising sensibly and strategically? Truly, this matter requires attention so that our university graduates will not struggle with exhibiting key soft skills that are crucial to landing them high-paying jobs or building a sustainable startup!


When I was an undergraduate student, I remember that most of us knew our colleagues so well, even up to the point of where they live. We also had their phone numbers in our phones so that we could call them whenever there is a need for it. Today, you have students who do not even know the full names of their course mates, not to talk of knowing where they live. They act so-far-removed from reality and prefer to live a life of pretence online. After all, what is the point of having 12,000 followers on Instagram but still lack the ability to socialise in real life? Our physical development is as important as our online presence.

To attempt to resolve this issue, I strongly advise that fellow Millennial lecturers should intentionally create more group activities in class, such as group class works, group presentations, lab sessions, etc. The more we incorporate such sessions into our classes, the more we will compel them to interact with one another, and the more they will take up soft skills needed for the workplace.

I hope you enjoyed Episode 6?

Watch out for Episode 7.

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