Adulthood 101: Remedial resilience

East Carolina University will offer “adulting” class to help students cope with the transition “from home life to college life and into their adulthood,”

It’s hoped Remedial Adulthood—  the university prefers “resilience education” — will relieve the stress on college counselors, writes Robby Soave for the Daily Beast.

urlAcross the country, more college students are seeking help for anxiety and depression.

Reason columnist Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids, blames “helicopter parents and safety-obsessed K-12 administrators” for failing to teach kids to solve their own problems, writes Soave.

“Today’s children grow up with their elders ever present to organize the game, settle the scores and slice the snacks,” as Skenazy puts it.

“Emotionally coddled, easily offended, mentally traumatized students” are skewing the campus climate, writes Soave.

They are the ones calling for what psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes as “vindictive protectiveness,” or institutional policies designed to protect students from psychological harm.

These policies are well-known to readers: trigger warnings that require professors to consider whether they are teaching objectionable material; safe spaces that appear on campus whenever a visiting speaker expresses a controversial idea; speech codes that thwart students’ efforts to exercise their First Amendment rights; and “Bias Response Teams” that investigate members of campus for saying the wrong things, even inadvertently.

At the expense of free expression, these policies promise to protect students from discomfort — and from growing up.

What new college students need to know

The 7 things new college students don’t know that drive professors crazy start with “You’re not in charge.” After 12 years as a high school English teacher and four years as a college instructor, Shannon Reed tells parents to prepare their college-bound teens to respect their professors.

“Too many high school students are used to bossing their teachers around, bullying or whining their way to better grades, or keeping up a line of patter that amuses their classmates,” writes Reed. High school teachers may put up with that. College professors will not.

Reed shocked a student on the first day of class by telling him to put away his phone or leave the room.

Are teachers really that easy to push around?

She also warns that your professor is not your administrative assistant.

It is not her job to show you how to see the comments on a document, remind you about a deadline or explain what you missed when you took a class off. Read your syllabus or ask a classmate.

Students persist in confusing Reed with their mother. They expect a white woman in her 40’s to be “nice” or “understanding,” even though she uses a “rather hard-driving teaching persona” and issues “a clear statement on my syllabus that I am not especially nice.” It doesn’t matter. “Every semester, a clueless student will ask me to boost his grade, give her more time on an essay or let him miss an extra class.”

There are more points, but I’ll summarize: Don’t be a spoiled brat.

Profs, are students really that bossy/helpless?

College learning takes 2.76 hours/day 

“The average full-time college student spends only 2.76 hours per day on all education-related activities,” according to a Heritage study. No wonder few complete a four-year degree in four years, write Lindsey Burke, Jamie Bryan Hall and Mary Clare Reim.

Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s American Time Use Survey from 2003–2014, full-time college students average 1.18 hours in class per day and 1.53 hours studying for a total of 19.3 hours per week.

By contrast, they spend 31 hours a week on socializing and recreation.

Sixty percent of full-time college students have jobs, Heritage reports. They average 16.3 hours per week of work. That doesn’t add up to a very tough schedule, the authors point out. “Why are taxpayers heavily subsidizing a period in some people’s lives when combined education and work efforts are at their lowest?”

Joe College doesn’t go here anymore

The Typical College Student Is Not Who You Think It Is, writes Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic. Joe College and Betty Co-Ed are a tiny minority.

Lumina Foundation’s Jamie Merisotis asks: “What percentage of students in American higher education today graduated from high school and enrolled in college within a year to attend a four year institution and live on campus?”

Non-TraditionalCollegeStudents

Most college graduates guess “between forty and sixty percent,” he said, at an Aspen event. “The correct answer is five percent.”

Policy makers and the media are obsessed with elite students and colleges, warns Clay Shirky. “Public conversations about college are increasingly irrelevant to the lives of many of the actual students.”

Of the twenty million or so students in the US, only about one in ten lives on a campus. The remaining eighteen million—the ones who don’t have the grades for Swarthmore, or tens of thousands of dollars in free cash flow, or four years free of adult responsibility—are relying on education after high school not as a voyage of self-discovery but as a way to acquire training and a certificate of hireability.

. . . the bulk of students today are in their mid-20s or older, enrolled at a community or commuter school, and working towards a degree they will take too long to complete. One in three won’t complete, ever. Of the rest, two in three will leave in debt. The median member of this new student majority is just keeping her head above water financially.

“The bottom quintile is drowning,” he writes.

quarter of college students are enrolled full-time in four-year residential colleges and universities, according to a 2011 Complete College America survey. That includes some who are older students or living off-campus.

Student parents — “college kids with kids” — need flexible programs write Merisotis and Anne-Marie Slaughter in the New York Times. They advocate streamlining federal financial aid for online competency-based programs.

One word for Hillary, Trump, Bernie, Rubio

In a word-association game, college students saw Donald Trump as crazy and Hillary Clinton as dishonest.

In a word-association game, college students saw Donald Trump as crazy and Hillary Clinton as dishonest.

Students at Christopher Newport University in Virginia were asked for one word that comes to mind when they think of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio.

“Emails” and “untrustworthy” come up for Clinton, while several say Sanders is “consistent.” Trump is seen as crazy and Rubio is unknown.

Fragile students, nervous professors

Declining student resilience is a serious and growing problem on campus, writes Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College, in Psychology Today.

Last year, he was invited to meetings at a major university to discuss the problem. Emergency calls to Counseling had more than doubled in five years, he learned. “Students are increasingly seeking help for, and apparently having emotional crises over, problems of everyday life.”

Professors are afraid of sobbing students in their office if they give C’s, and sometimes B’s. Many students see a poor grade as a world-ending failure, they reported.

They “see a poor grade as reason to complain — the professor didn’t explain clearly enough or give sufficiently explicit instructions — rather than as reason to study more, or more effectively,” faculty members said.

Much of the discussions had to do with the amount of handholding faculty should do versus the degree to which the response should be something like, “Buck up, this is college.”

Colleges across the country are reporting “a decrease in the ability of many young people to manage the everyday bumps in the road of life,” write the university’s head of Counseling in a recent email. He summarized:

Less resilient and needy students have shaped the landscape for faculty in that they are expected to do more handholding, lower their academic standards, and not challenge students too much.

. . . Students are afraid to fail; they do not take risks; they need to be certain about things.

College mental health centers are overwhelmed by anxious, depressed students, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education in An Epidemic of Anguish.

“We have raised a generation of young people who have not been given the opportunity to learn how to solve their own problems,” writes Gray. “They have not been given the opportunity to get into trouble and find their own way out, to experience failure and realize they can survive it, to be called bad names by others and learn how to respond without adult intervention.”

Overcontrolling, overprotective parents raise emotionally fragile children, writes Diane Dreher.

From HUMAN, here’s the story of two survivors.

100 college students

From the Gates Foundation, here’s America as 100 College Students.

America_100CollegeStudents

Is job security really the top concern?

According to the New York Times, a report by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University finds that college students and recent graduates rank job security above other major life goals.

Well, yes. But when asked about the job attributes that were most important to them, working adults ranked the following above or alongside job security: work/life balance, positive work environment/culture, good compensation, and having interesting work to do. Undergraduate and graduate students gave similar rankings, except that they ranked compensation just below job security. (The exact rankings vary according to your reading of the data; if you look at “essential” job attributes,  the ranking comes out one way; if you  look at “essential or very important” attributes, it rearranges a little, but not much.)

Now, as for life goals, it doesn’t appear that work/life balance, positive work environment, or intesting work were even offered as options. One could argue that the first two aren’t life goals.But the third could be. Given that both students and adults ranked it so high among job attributes, it’s likely they would have ranked it high among life goals as well. Having a job “with impact on causes important to me” was listed among the life goal options, but that’s not the same as having an interesting job.

So, while the New York Times doesn’t exactly misstate what’s in the report, it draws skewed conclusions from it. Yes, when given a limited set of options for life goals, college students and adults ranked job security highest. Yet when it came to job attributes, the quality and substance of the job mattered at least as much to them as job security. Also, what can one draw from the fact that of all the job attributes listed, work/life balance ranks highest?

Of course this report isn’t the final word on what people want  from jobs. Polls have limitations to begin with, and this one may have caveats that I haven’t noticed. But what it says is intriguing.

Prof: Students can’t tie their own shoes

In recent years, college students have lost the ability to tie their own shoes, writes Jerry Weinberger, a Michigan State political science professor, on City Journal.  Without their helicopter parents, students lose syllabi, break appointments and can’t find the final exam. They don’t buy the right books — and as many as 20 percent don’t read the books, Weinberger believes.

Before 2004, his final exams would pose essay questions like “Compare Hobbes and Nietzsche on the question of religion” and “What is the difference between Marx and Locke on the origins of private property?” That’s impossible now. Too many would flunk.

Students demand “study guides” before the midterm and the final exams. They want to know “the important chapters” in the reading and “the important points” in the lectures they missed. Above all, they want to know what’s going to be on the final exam.

I then asked them if in high school they’d been “taught to their tests,” especially standardized ones, and provided with study guides and PowerPoint summaries that, in essence, gave them the questions and the answers. My query elicited a sea of nodding heads.

When I gave the exam, some students groused when they saw questions that could be answered only by having read the texts. . . . After grades were in, an excellent student with a 4.0 GPA who earned an A-minus in my class e-mailed me: “It is honestly the first class I have had to work for a grade much since I have been in college. College is full of courses handing out study guides nearly identical to exams, and I thoroughly appreciated this challenge, and actually having to read the material and come to class.”

There’s nothing new about students asking: Will it be on the test? But college students of yore didn’t expect a detailed answer.

Weinberger blames high school prep for standardized tests, but teachers can’t spoon-feed answers to tests they don’t write themselves. Michigan State students earned A’s and B’s in high school. It sounds like they did projects that didn’t require much reading, got detailed study guides for exams and used extra credit to raise their grades.

Teachers, what do you think?

Lady Gaga: 'Hooking up' isn't cool

Declaring her celibacy, Lady Gaga says promiscuity isn’t ‘cool.’ CNN finds a backlash against the “hook-up culture” on campus. It’s all on Community College Spotlight.