Tuesday, June 7, 2016

REASON 11: College Life is Lonely

The solitude of college life.

College brochures love to show cheery pictures of students strolling along campus or gathering together in on the campus square. And it is true that college can give you an opportunity to interact with your peers and meet interesting people. But most of the time, college life isn't the ideal setting for social interaction.

Traditionally, campus life provided students with many opportunities to make lifelong friends. However, trends in higher education undermine the social opportunities that students have in college. 

First, a growing percentage of students commute to college, avoiding campus life altogether. If you go to a college in a larger city, it won't be uncommon for few students, if any, to reside on campus. Your classmates will also more likely be adult students who just want to meet for classes and go home. Rather than making close connections with your peers, you will likely be huddled in large lecture halls with parents who can't wait for class to get out so they can pick up their kids from school.

Second, Internet technology is eroding campus life. When you are on campus, it is more likely that your classmates will be engaging with their smartphones and laptops than you. Walking between classes can feel more like the typical commute to a 9-to-5 job on a New York subway.

In reality, college life is often alienating and lonely. Studying is really a solo activity. You will spend long hours in your room or the library keeping up with your course readings. If you are like most college kids, you will have to work, reducing the time you have to be involved with campus activities. High school are the final days that you will have to freely interact with your friends and bond with your classmates. Cherish it while it lasts.  

The best way to achieve that chummy, collegial atmosphere that you crave is to shell out over $20K per semester to attend a small liberal arts college. The expense of this alone is another good reason not to go to college.

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