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Nowadays, college students are looking to party more, work less, AND earn a respectable degree in the expected four years. Entrepreneurs are taking advantage of this trend. Entrepreneurs market everything from caffeine pills to herbal extracts for “higher brain function” and videos designed to improve and reduce study time to get the same amount of information. I propose a mandatory class that forces students to balance the college experience.
Students want to have fun and get their degrees too! This opens a market for entrepreneurs to make new products that help students stay awake at night longer. Substances such as caffeine or voodoo whatchamacalits with no scientific support are some examples. Students aspire to enjoy life to the maximum without sacrificing their future by failing out of college, as embodied in the popular term YOLO. A “class” similar to a study hall is the perfect place to help students get into the habit of doing work when work needs doing. Student’s wouldn’t be able to complain. They would be getting college credit for doing their homework for other classes. It may seem like babying students, but it will give them the first step to success. Successful students reflect well on the school.
To get a better view of student motivation, I interviewed adolescent psychologist Dr. Goodchild at his office. Goodchild provided insight into the decisions of young adults in their freshman and sophomore years of college: “College is fun. You have the freedom to do what you want when you want. With no one to check their behavior every day or night, many students sleep late and do nothing all day except go on social media. Then push comes to shove at two in the morning and that ten-page paper is due in six hours and sleep isn’t an option.” As Goodchild organized some paperwork on his desk he continued, “The realization is that the work needs to be done, even at a bare minimum, so the fun can continue. I had a class that was fifty minutes a week that helped me get organized my first semester of college. It was the helping hand I needed.”
Brittani, manager of the local coffee shop Jitter Juice, commented from her own (short) college experience. “I was not much of a studier. I never wanted to, like, write my essays or study until the night before and then I didn’t start until, like, 3am on an early night. I, like, always took those caffeine pills and, like, a ton of energy drinks.”
As Brittani chugged a triple shot of espresso to keep awake, she continued “College shouldn’t be so hard, like, I mean isn’t learning through experience, like, more useful? There was this one class that I never went to except the first time ’cause they wanted me to, like, write in an agenda when all my assignments were due and stuff. Something about being, you know, organized. I have never used that math stuff with X’s and Y’s or whatever I was supposed to, like, learn in those classes” she remarked as she pressed buttons with pictures of the food being ordered at the drive-thru, the register automatically spitting out the amount due.
“I manage a coffee shop! Hello! I can sell, like, caffeine and stuff without needing to know, like, how it works. It isn’t that hard! Plus, like, all the business-y stuff is not my problem. The owner hired some other guy to, like, handle that stuff. I just deal with the customers and, like, follow what I’m told to do by the owner. It’s such a great job! I make, like, $12 an hour. That’s pretty damn good!” She said this as she wiped a dirty table after customers. Her boss looked over to make sure she was cleaning properly. Apparently she had to be instructed how to wipe a table when she was hired.
Brittani is a shining example of what one can do without a completed college education and little motivation beyond keeping that young, party vibe going.
Dr. Goodchild expressed his concern about such beliefs held by young people such as Brittani. $12 an hour isn’t a viable long term plan. It is his opinion that students should be more responsible about doing their school work in a timely manner, perhaps using a self-reward/punishment strategy. An example of such a strategy could be that for each essay the student writes he or she can spend an hour wasting time on Facebook or whatever they want. “I used such a system in my college days and look where I am.” He motioned towards the framed diplomas, awards and articles he was featured in on his office wall.
Goodchild noted, “I never used any outside substances to keep me awake except a few times when I drank a cup of coffee. I tended to get work done by midnight in order to get my eight hours of shut-eye.” Dr. Goodchild is the epitome of self-discipline and its impressive outcome.
Brittani held a different view. “Yeah, I guess school is, like, important, but I think common sense and, like, life experience also makes for a great way to get stuff done in life. Plus, like, the connections I made when I was out partying instead of doing homework still help me; I’m, like, the manager of this coffee shop! I mean, I made out with this random dude and his dad owns it and he, like, got me this job.”
These interviews show the long-term ramifications of different work ethics. Balancing one’s life with academics and going out and having fun are both important to become well rounded. A class that isn’t condescending but helps students get off on the right foot can have positive implications far into the student’s and society’s future.