College students' mental health is suffering. Downplaying challenges of living away from home for the first time won’t make it any better.
In the summer after high school I worked inside the coal mines to put away money for the fall college term. There I met a seventeen-year-old man - not a boy by any stretch, a man - who had got his girlfriend pregnant, married her, and immediately went into the mines to earn a living for them. I don't remember his name, only that at seventeen he was so much more mature than I was - a maturity level I never reached until my thirties. Somehow we have to reverse the prolonged adolescence that is the modern college man and woman. A nation IS its citizens, and we are turning ours into bowls of jelly.
You must be kidding me with this article. What’s wrong with the parents and if their kids are so mentally disturbed maybe college is not the place for them now. Seems like it’s time for the parents to grow up. I went to university for an education not to receive social services.
I have a coffee shop and I have to yet hire a young person who cleans the bathrooms, although it is in the job description they agree to be paid for. Those kids leave their homes with basically no challenge ever, no skills, and no work ethics. Every attempt made to treat them as adults is an offense. These people will lead the world in a bit. We are all fucked 🤣.
Sorry but I read this instead as an indictment of America and American parenting. We have sent 17 year olds off to fight on vicious places such as Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. Is it really asking too much to expect an 18 year old to attend classes and take care of themselves? If it is, our problem is way, way deeper than a 33% college attrition rate. Our progressive friends scoff when we refer to "snowflakes." What does this essay reveal? Maybe it's long past time to take away the toys, and the psychiatrists and the Ritalin and start toughening up these kids. Micro-aggressions? Seriously?
Pathetic students like those described in this pathetic article should not be in college. They should be in boot camp, along with their failures of parents.
And take away the cell phones.
There are several things I tell young person who goes to college:
- Pick degree that will land you a Job, that means STEM, not some "studies" that will guarantee you unemployment and student debt but not thing else.
- Don't pick college based on following => Their sports team(chances is you will be financing this BS from your tuition with no benefit to you), how campus looks (you are financing it from your tuition with little benefit) or how "college experience is"
- Pick college that offers best ROI, if local in state collage costs couple thousand, its is financially irresponsible to pay $50k for college in different state. If you are not attending Harvard or some other Ivy league, there is 99% chance that after you get your first job, nobody will ever ask you where you got your degree.
- Get the degree as soon as possible=>Your goal is to get the degree (peace of paper), that will get your foot in the door for well paid job, your goal is not to experiment or have collage experience because if you finish fast, you will be able to earn income and do what every you liked on your own dime without going in to debt or wasting money.
- No mater what your university admin says to you, that you are "family" and other BS, know they will get rid of you as soon as you cant pay and will try to milk you until last $. So after you finish, you don't owe anything to your university, you paid everything to them trough your tuition, there is absolutly no need to give them another dime afterwards.
- Due to all woke BS that is currently going on campuses, be carful don't engage in some "revolutions" or other BS that is going on on campus, because every revolution eats its own, today they will be with you, but one wrong thought you will be burnt on the cross.
Other than that, good luck, and the faster you finish, faster you can enjoy your life, and belive me better to be young and have income and do what you want, than be young broke and settled with college debt.
We have slowly backed ourselves into this corner of helplessness. It is much bigger than something which can be solved by institutions and supporting organizations, but that is clearly part of the solution.
It is no surprise to anybody paying attention that we have coddled and smothered a generation of children. Whether it was the indulgences of the first children coming out of the baby boomer families or the more recent developments attendant to various statuses, we have put all the focus on the individual and individuals’ rights in our society. Does anybody really know a teenager with an afterschool job? This is the society that you get when everybody is supposed to be at SAT prep class in the afternoon. ￼We have also seen a steady increase in older parents and smaller families, neither of which is conducive to developing the type of strong and well developed children that should be leading their generation. An older parent is an insecure parent. A parent of a single child is even more protective of their progeny. Those children, who make up a larger part of our emerging generations, are their family’s trophies. And like the trophies we gave all of those kids for simply growing up, they are inherently fragile.￼
If you peel back the onion deeply enough, you realize that what we are witnessing is a slow unraveling of the nation’s confidence. More focused on protecting the gains in their wealth over the past generations, American families slowly began to worship the wrong things. They chose to race forward and collect things rather than developing in their children character. That is not going to be repaired by more deans on college campuses, many of whom dig in and double down on the same strategies that put us into this mess in the first place.￼￼￼
Okay..I’m 65 and don’t have kids, but…maybe 30 years ago when I saw this phenomenon evolving all I could think was ‘these are the kids MY generation raised’.
On the other hand, I never thought it would get this bad.
And last, now that we’ve heard all the sad stories about why we need to forgive student loans, mostly so they ‘can get on with life’, this is telling me that they are NOT ready for big world responsibilities of mortgages and the like, and probably never will be.
Ok, edit: this piece is the culmination of all we read here in Common Sense. Cancel culture and misinformation at the hands of children who can’t tie their own shoelaces.
Not sure I can stomach another article about the neutering of the nation’s future. I need more trauma-informed reporting.
Great piece for telling us what we already know: we have a generation that is peppered with self-centered, egotistical half wits who are the direct result of "helicopter" and or "bulldozer" parents who themselves are living with a lot of delusions. There are many young people who do not fall into this category but we never see or hear anything from them, and there is a reason for that.
Not sure if anyone else has mentioned it but Jonathan Haidt’s book The Coddling of the American Mind...goes over most of this. While no doubt there are children that do indeed have legitimate mental health issues, Haidt and his co-author ultimately blame helicopter parents and social media for a lot of it. Millions of parents have tried to protect their children from everything, not just physical harm but any kind of negative experience. These are the kids that get to college and can’t stand to have their views challenged because “words are violence.” Couple that with the fact that millions of kids grew up without physical social interaction because their entire social life is through social media. They’re not prepared to interact with thousands of strangers with face-to-face dialogue.
Sadly the proposed solution appears to be more coddling. Safe spaces, canceling, censoring, etc. At some point these kids are going to need to enter the real world where they won’t be coddled. Then again, MSM cancels and censors every day so maybe these kids will be alright.
I just graduated college. I know many people who have had serious mental illness during. It almost cost me my best friend.
What I didn’t understand throughout this was the lack of realization that maybe going to a university a couple hundred of miles away from home wasn’t the answer. Peoples parents and themselves kept pushing them to stay in the environment they were in, at whatever cost to their friends around them watching them suffer. I’m all for being resilient and Working through problems, but when your kid is needing hospitalization , why not just throw in the towel? Perhaps this isn’t for you?
It seems weird to me that people are so attached to a degree from a specific university, or so attached to a plan they made when they were 18, they are willing to go through suicide attempts, starvation, hospitalization, etc in order to get it. I don’t see that as honorable, I see it as not being realistic about what environment you actually thrive in.
I thought this was a useful and well written article.
My comment is about the comments. If you want to think seriously about an issue, you have to accept the irrelevance of your own particular experience,in this case either as a college student or the parent of a college student. It's a single data point among millions of data points.
The author has a plethora of career data points and professional experience backing up her observations and suggestions. Accordingly, she has a better grasp ion the situation than any non-professional.
Stop, I can't take the pain of these poor, poor children suffering at college. Oh for the good old days when you got drafted out of high school, told to shut the F up as your new Mom was now called the TI. Your new family was your unit and your life could depend on supporting each other.
Now not saying we need the draft, but how many kids today even work or are required to help do anything? Everything is emotional and requires guidance and support. Our son's went to college and were told, graduation, military or get a job. One got military and one graduated. Did we, yes the actual parents help him work through it? Of course we are parents and no counselor, scream room or support person knows our kids like we do. How about time to have the talk. You need to decide, are you and us willing to borrow and actually pay back loans? Are you going to realize you need to accept responsibility for yourself but understand we are still here for support? Come on America we are stronger than this and let's kick the whinny you need special support because life is hard. Look at the rest of the world and be thankful you are not forced to live in poverty or work from early childhood. Now dry your tears and get your ass back into life.
Is this piece a joke?
I thank God every day my parents worked three jobs to pay the Catholic school tuition for me and my sibs K-12. The nuns taught 50 kids per classroom, and we still got a great education, as well as a sense of duty to family and community. To get into trouble with the nuns was a horror since Mom would be called, and we’d catch hell again when we got home. No bringing shame on the family by failing or screwing around at school. But this was all a long time ago, and now the nuns and Mom would be charged with child abuse.