Responding to a question posed by the New York Times regarding how college freshmen have “changed,” professors from across the country weighed in with expectedly dismal pronouncements regarding the modern student’s ability to transition into independent life.
“Students are different now,” laments Linda Bips, a psychologist and assistant professor at Muhlenberg College. According to her, current college students were raised in an environment so as to become overly sensitive to failure.
“Our world is more stressful in general because of the current economic and political realities, but I don’t believe that the college experience itself is more intense today than the past 10 years. What I do think is that many students are often not prepared to be young ‘adults’ with all the responsibilities of life.”
The quotation marks enclosing the term ‘adults?’ That hurts. But perhaps not as much as what Bips has to say about the adverse effects of our apparent immaturity on professors like her, who are forced into “[assisting] in the basic parenting of these students.” Sigh.
Philip Babcock, an economics professor at UCSB, joins in on the hate. “Academics aren’t the problem,” he states, regarding why many students fall into stress during the school year. According to “the data,” students spend much less time studying these days, and more time socializing and “playing on the computer.”
What? No! No, we weren’t crying. There was just something in our eye. And to the allegations on our immaturity: that’s just wrong and basely unfair. If you old people keep that stuff up, we’re going to tell Mom.
In all seriousness, however: of course college kids have changed. Everyone has changed. The world changes. That’s the way it is. And you know what? Bleeding-heart nostalgia for some idealized notion of the good old days, where kids were adults and where everyone was in a perpetual state of picking himself up by his bootstraps has no place in this changed world. So if we quit playing the Nintendo set and clean up our room, can you bring yourselves to understand that?