Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Back to school days!

It's that time of year: back to school.
All over the country students are gearing up for the new school year. Backpacks are filled with new notebooks and freshly sharpened pencils. New outfits are purchased with the scrutiny of a Catholic nun (although instead of reviewing for modesty the goal is more along the lines of fashion and style). Lunch money is gathered from parents and alarm clocks are set for hours that were once spent in peaceful slummer only a few short days ago. Now the freedom of summer, sleeping in and no homework is over and the drugery of five minutes between classes, heavy books and early morning bus rides is back in session.
For thousands of students this time of year isn't just a return to high school but a whole change in life: going away to college. This requires a whole new shopping list and brings about changes far beyond the 6:30 AM wake up call. Teens who go away to college buy extra long bedding, snacks, mini refrigerators, closet hangers, storage containers, and calling cards (okay, so maybe not calling cards anymore but you get the point). They stock up in preparation for life away from the comfort of the nest. Months of planning, anticipating and maybe even some stressing lead up to the moment when Mom and Dad pull away, leaving their teen to their own devices to fend for themselves in a bubble called college life.
Parents gone, comforts of home miles away and dormitory life as the new normal brings about other changes too (ie, doing your laundry at the end of hall, making your own bed, feeding yourself, cleaning up after yourself once you've completed the feeding task). All the basic necessaties of life that I once assumed were common practice among teens. Surely, I figured by the time a kid goes to college they understand the two buttons they need to push on a washing machine to get it to run? Wouldn't it be common sense that when you get hungry you feed yourself with food provided at the cafeteria or local grocery store, fast food joint or gas station? Then, I would also assume a person would know they have to throw away their empty food containers and, someday, empty the trash that their Mom stuck next to the desk? All of these things seem like no brain-rs if you ask me. But according to the USA Today I am sorely mistaken.

Apparently, many students embark on college life not knowing how to do any of these basic tasks. Are you serious? You send your student off to college at a good, credible school that costs a small fortune yet the kid can't even fold their own underwear? America, we have a problem.
When asked why these students aren't doing the basic tasks of life such as laundry, one Mom said, "Basically, what it boils down to is, college students are lazy."Well, at least she's honest. Shouldn't basic life skills be a requirement for college? Are we so concerned with GPA, SATs, ACTs, fulfilling community services hours and making sports team rosters that we have forgotten to cover the most fundamental of life sustaining requirements? Mom and Dads across this country have apparently given their kids a "get out of the house without lifting one pinky finger" card. Do they know that they are actually harming their child in the process? They are setting their kids up to be smelly, messy, and, according to the newspapers quoted mother, "lazy" individuals. Well done parents.
I'm not claiming that my parents were slave drivers by any means. My Mom cooked all my meals and, yes, packed my lunch for high school every day. Thanks Mom - I will never forget the chicken wraps and occasional slice of chocolate cake. Her home packed lunches were delicious - sorry but tater tots aren't my thing and mystery meat has never tickled my fancy. But just because my Mom packed my lunch never meant she didn't expect me to be able to take care of myself if the need arose. I did my own laundry before I went away to college. I know, I'm impressive. I put the dirty clothing in the round shaped opening and even added laundry detergent. Then - get ready for this one - I hit the start button. Whew! What talent! And to top it all off I would even switch it over to the dryer myself. Maybe I was simply ahead of my time or maybe the rest of the world has just gone nuts with justifying ridiculous sums of slothfulness!

After reading the article and hearing about all the students across America who can't seem to function without the aid of parents or hired services to help them complete day to day life activies I have determined one thing: this is the problem with men. Aha! I have found it! By the time you reach your 20's you assume that you will be among other 20-something MEN yet you will be mistaken. No, the 20-something male is still very much a boy who doesn't understand the concept of a laundry basket or detergent. The 20-something male still throws his socks in the middle of the floor and hasn't emptied his trash since it was last condemned by health services for possible bacterial overgrowth. This is the age of young adult males and it is frighteningly pathetic. You may think that this is only the males at party schools or the guys who are barely making a C average in their classes. But no. These are students at Cornell, University of Texas, George Washington University and countless others.

Laziness in college students is an epidemic and it knows no boundaries. But have no fear because I have a solution to this debilitating social issue! College requirements. Yes, that's right. Under my new plan you will first display the ability to make a bed, run the washing machine (and dryer), take out the trash, put dirty clothing in a hamper and order food in a line style cafeteria before a college or university even looks at your backpack full of recommendations, transcripts and application forms. This process will be scrutinized for accuracy and timed, just to add a bit of seriousness to the whole matter. This system will put priorities back in place. If you can't clean and feed yourself who cares if you know macro economics and bio mechanics? It is irrevelant if you stink to high heaven and don't have a clean shirt to wear.
Let's face it, who wants to hire a shirtless dude who smells like a dumpster? Take a shower, put on some freshly washed attire and then worry about pumping your brain with more knowledge. First things first. 

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