Today’s college freshmen are unprepared, coddled and delusional—just like every freshmen class since the beginning of time.
According to a Aug. 21 USA Today article by Mary Beth Marklein titled “A cheat sheet to what makes college freshmen click,” the kids in the class of 2016 are dependent on electronics, “woefully unprepared for the real world”, and have a sense of entitlement.
I could not agree more, but what makes them different from any other class?
Most people would argue that the reliance on gadgets is a huge concern. Isn’t it detrimental to social skills when youth opt to text friends rather than have face-to-face conversations? How about sitting on the computer for hours rather than participate in recreational activities? Maybe, but this isn’t just an issue that relates to the class of 2016 and future classes; the older generation has taken just as big of a part in this social transformation!
Yes, there are just as many adults who walk around with iPod in one hand and smartphone in the other—people whose greatest fear would be going without Internet for longer than 20 minutes. The only difference between the younger generation and adults is the class of 2016 got caught up in the technological revolution much earlier in their lives.
These hopeless freshmen are coddled and unprepared, right? Yes, but the transition from high school to the real world has always been a challenge. For every adult who claims he/she was emotionally and mentally prepared for college right out of high school, there is another who wasn’t allowed to leave their parents’ sight in fear that the Soviet Union would invade their town “Red Dawn” style. It’s silly to make generalizations like this.
I myself have questions about whether we are heading in a positive direction or not, particularly as far as what direction technology and pop culture may lead kids, but I’m not too quick to write off my generation and generations to come as hopeless, selfish and stupid.
Living at the dorms, where the population is mostly freshmen, I do scoff at many of the things I see them do and hear them say, but being a throwback man myself, they probably think I’m rather strange too. I spent a large portion of last year making strange sounds simply to get a reaction from my roommates and occupying my dorm on Friday nights listening to folk music from the ‘70s. Could it be that the class of 2016 is just different?
Of course they are. While the older generations wonder what the world is coming to, new advancements in technology, changes in social norms, and pop culture in general influence young ones. After all, wasn’t the 1960s—a time period where many of the critics of the class of 2016 grew up—known for sexual promiscuity and drugs?
In the end, it’s easy to point a finger, but I don’t see any sense in compensating for my faults by criticizing an entire class. This will not get us anywhere, and I hope they succeed—since they’re reaching a make-or-break period in their lives.