Wednesday, January 03, 2007

College students claim they want novelty and risk

Happy New Year everyone!

My first post of the new year is a link to a Washington Post story today (reg required) about College students' definitions of fun.

It starts with a survey from a website, where students rate their definitions of fun in a pretty standard way -- booze and sex. They then interview a philosophy professor, who describes the "sophisticated" distinctions college students make.

In the end, the author makes her own conclusions that novelty and risk are the most "fun" for students.


Anonymous said...

Yes...all too true. The novel idea the "me" generation has that risky behavior is consequence free keeps law enforcement, fire-rescue, emergency departments and morticians very busy. (And our jails full.).

I'm told we need glistening new student unions with pulse quickening entertainment and a nightclub atmosphere coupled with under utilized palatial facilities meant only for recreation instead of education to attract this generation of students. Isn't something fundamentally wrong with this idea? In the mid 70's when I started my college education I chose the best school I could attend for my particular field that fit my particular financial and personal situation. I can't remember receiving any particular sales pitch from admissions on the non-academic facilities... I did get a dose on the institution's ability to ensure job placement, their educational reputation in the field and the ability to work and learn with the latest equipment and ideas fostered by award winning faculty. Hmmmmmm... perhaps that should be the flagship of recruitment efforts ? Boy, an I naive...

Lammers said...

Is it really all that much different from 30 years ago? God knows I and my college friends did plenty of stupid risky things at that age, and I also know plenty of students today who walk the strait-and-narrow today and do just fine.

I never liked it 30 years ago, when older people characterized my entire generation as a bunch of doped-out sex-crazed long-haired commie-sympathizers. I can well imagine there are plenty of our students who similarly bristle at being labelled thrill-seeking risk-taking party-animals. It's a mistake to think that what is true of some members of group is true for all members of a group. Jerks always get the most ink in the media; straight-arrows don't sell newspapers.

As long as actions have consequences, I'm not too worried. As long as our students reap what they've sown, all is well.

Dana Vaughan said...

Brain imaging studies of adolescents and young people over the last few years have provided strong evidence that there are substantial developments in the "wiring" of areas involved in decision making, prioritization, impulse control, and reward. These areas are not "done" until about 25 years of age. Developing brains are shaped by experience just as muscles are shaped by exercise. I am of the opinion the brain "craves" or "seeks" that experience, in other words seeks its own shaping. Look at how incredibly busy our very young children are, as their nervous systems undergo massive development of motor pathways and emotions. It's more of the same in college-age humans. Appreciating this biological reality of the 18-24 crowd has made me a bit more forgiving of their range of behaviors.