Columnist compares college life now to college life of relatives


College 4/5

Mary Ross and Mary Ross

College is supposed to be the best four years of a person’s life. At least in my family, everyone who has graduated from college and is at least forty recalls fondly the “good ole days” when they were at such and such university.

Some older male relatives talk about the parties they attended, the girls they dated and the stupid things they did with their friends. Some older female relatives talk about how college was their prime and how they met the love of their lives in college. Few talk about academics and the classes they took. All they remember and share are wild stories from their past of nights they don’t remember all too well, but remember enough to tell the stories.

Yet, these wild stories I hear from older relatives would land me in heaps of trouble if I was caught doing any of that nowadays. And with social media and more watchful people, it’s a lot more likely I would get caught if I did anything that is considered wrong, either by moral or legal standards.

For this reason, I don’t do much besides study, work, eat and sleep. And many times, my older relatives say I need to enjoy myself more and go hang out with people more.

They don’t consider the fact that if I was ever caught doing anything wrong and I got in trouble with the school, I could not only get in serious trouble with the school, but I could jeopardize my future career as a credible journalist with an infraction on my record. They don’t consider how enjoying myself and going out more means less time working on homework, studying or writing, all of which puts me behind not only in classes, but in my chances of receiving an internship or job offer that would project me forward in my career.

After all, journalism is a competitive field. Writing in general is a competitive field. If I want to be as successful as I can be, I have to constantly work to stay ahead and improve myself. This I cannot do if I become distracted participating in the same activities my older relatives did in the “good ole days,” which have more of a chance of hurting my potential now than it did to them back when they were my age.

It is a generational difference for sure. And while it is something many of my older relatives don’t think about, it should be. Not only am I different than my older relatives, but so are the times we live or lived in during our years in college.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t want to hear their stories. They make me laugh and give me insight into why my relatives are the way they are, which always gives me a new perspective on them as a person. But when they encourage me to go out and have more fun, it reminds me of exactly how much I wish I could be a crazy college student but also how much I can’t be crazy without possibly sacrificing my future.

I can’t imagine I am the only one that feels this way. For college students, remind your older relatives about how times have changed and focus on all the amazing things you’re doing in and out of your classes in order to lay a solid foundation for your future. For relatives who love to reminisce about their college days to younger students, consider how times have changed and possibly talk more about ways you laid the foundation for your career or life during your college years. Either way, this begins to blur the lines made by generational differences to make a better bond that comes from common experiences.