The Many Personalities of College Kids

In high-school, most mornings I woke up around 5:30a to be at school by 6.  I had meetings and organizations I was leading that I was in charge of being present to help lead and represent, then I went about my school day until 2:30p.  Then, after school, I would have band practice and/or play rehearsal until about 9p that evening, only to go home that night to do homework, go to bed, wake up, and do it all the next day.  Boy, let me tell you, trying to throw a job in that mix was a task I certainly failed at.

Little did I know, this was only a warm-up for the marathon I’d be racing in college.

Most often, you hear adults, teachers, whoever, talk about college age kids… usually in a negative light.  It’s usually about how all they like to do is sleep, hang out with their friends, waste time on the computer and “The Facebook,” or consume certain substances.  Or, there are the teachers and professors who wholeheartedly believe that their class is the only class, the most important class, and everything in their students lives should come second to that class.

Honestly, how realistic is that? Not very.

Recently, I had a professor tell me (well, the class) that the average student should spend about 3 hours per night per class on homework.  Honestly? On my busiest days (and the days I have this professor for class) I’m in class from 11a-5p, with 4 classes.  So, does that mean this professor expects me to spend the following 12 hours doing homework? Surely, you see the wrench in that way of thinking right there.

Then, some very fine, up-standing, educated peers of mine went on to try to explain to this professor that this is totally unfeasible and anyone who thinks otherwise is just ignorant.  Well, okay, they didn’t say that in so many words, but we all know it’s what they were getting at.

They went on to explain that the average college student as classes to take, most often above the requirement of 16 hours (some taking 20+, even!), then they have various and many student organizations they’re involved in (and, at some point, usually have a leadership role), then there are internships, as well as jobs.  Then there’s also time for homework, and time for family and friends (which, hopefully, people realize is just as important as time for school). That’s about six different areas calling for a single persons full undivided attention on a regular basis.  And that’s not accounting for time to relax and recuperate from it all, or spending time to themselves (such as reading, exercising, etc.).

Now, I realize, school is important.  The classes we take within school are just as important.  We pay a great deal of money for them, and they should not be taken lightly.  But it just seems ridiculous when professors think that their classes are the only thing that students have going on.  It’s even more ludicrous when professors think that it’s realistic to believe students can excel in school (and thus, in life after school) without being well-rounded in these other areas.

Places do not want to hire a student fresh out of college without a variety of classes, without experiences in internships (note: plural.), without previous job experience, without leadership and extra-curricular experiences.  Most places would not only toss your résumé in the trash, but probably laugh at it, if you were to only state you were in college for 4 years and devoted all of your time to all of your classes.  It just doesn’t work that way.  Welcome to the 21st century.

Businesses are looking for well-rounded individuals, with experiences in all walks of life, in different aspects of, well, everything.  They aren’t looking for one person who is able to devote a large and considerable amount of time to one specific thing. Rather, they are looking for a highly motivated and active person who can work on and handle a variety of things at one time.

This will not come without living it first-hand in college.

Any person, friend, parent, professor, whoever, that tells you otherwise is simply ignorant. And in the instance of being able to find a job after graduation, such as in this instance, it is highly arguable that ignorance is bliss.  Let’s be realistic and value the fact that most college students are spread so thin, ground to the pulp, chewed up and spit out on a regular (and most often, daily) basis.

Let’s take the drinking statistics and laziness with a grain of salt and think about the hands that our tomorrow will be placed in.  Would we rather those hands to be in class for 6 hours and doing homework for another 12 (for a whopping 18 hours a day), or would we rather those hands to be learning hands-on in and outside of the classroom, and learning strategies and tactics that they will be able to bring with them to the work force?

Food for thought.


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