Vegan stir fry in the dining hall? Online textbook reserve? 24-hour dorm room visitation? Man, college sure has changed since I was a student.
Of course, that was back in the dark ages – but still! If you are heading to your child’s college for Family Weekend in the next month or two, you may be in for a shock. Simply put, these kids have it cushy!
Just got back from Family Weekend at my freshman son’s university. We toured the campus and his dorm room – he swears the gym shorts laying on the microwave oven are his roommate’s. But notice something odd about that last sentence? How about: microwave oven in his dorm room?
That’s right; mini-fridge too.
If you haven’t been on campus for a few years, you are in for some surprises. Not to mention some feelings of resentment. You’ll probably grumble – as I did – that “college sure wasn’t like this when I was a kid.”
And then you’ll suddenly realize that you are really starting to sound like your own parents, and that will make you even more cranky. But, maybe that’s just me.
Back to the perks.
“There are trendy coffee shops, bistros and snack bars situated all over campus. It’s just not fair!”My first clue that things have really changed came when he was enrolling. It was time to buy books and I immediately started to snicker at the thought of him wandering around the bookstore trying to find the exact books needed for each class (“I can find books for English 101, line number 3875X9E, but not for line number 99B704R!!!), finding there are no more used books and shelling out $150 for a soft cover called “Introduction to Obscure Poets of the 16th Century.” Then the grueling wait in that endless checkout line wrapped around all the aisles and out the front door.
I tried to hide my giggles behind a look of pure sympathy for my baby frosh.
But then, the kid goes to his computer, calls up the bookstore’s Web site and, with just a couple clicks, reserves and pays for his entire semester’s books! He was even able to specify used books whenever possible and – get this – they pull and bag the books for him to pick up at his convenience. At his convenience!
When has a college ever cared about student convenience? I was livid!
When we toured this weekend, we were treated to lunch in the student dining hall. Again, I was in shock. No more the long cafeteria line with mushy green beans, instant mashed potatoes and mystery meat. Oh no…now we have kiosks everywhere offering different specialities.
There’s the vegan stir fry bar, made-to-order belgian waffle bar, fresh pizza with every imaginable topping, even one bar devoted specifically to luscious desserts. In my day, you were lucky to get a dried-out brownie.
And of course, they don’t have just one place to eat. There are trendy coffee shops, bistros and snack bars situated all over campus. It’s just not fair!
I haven’t even mentioned the cable television and high-speed Interent access in every dorm room, the free nearly-first-run movies on weekends, or the free shuttle bus to the beach during Welcome Week! I would mention them, but then I would just get more nauseated and have to lie down.
So, what did I learn from Family Weekend? First, I learned that I don’t have to worry about my son, he is very well taken care of. And second? Well, I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time for me to say good-bye to the workaday world, return to school and pursue that master’s degree I’ve always talked about getting.
See you at the student sushi bar!
That’s a great little story, and the funny thing is, it is all so true. I was so surprised when I went to my child’s college. They have the coffee shops, Italian pizza places, even a Chik-fil-a. They also have 2 big cafeterias where its all-you-can-eat . I worry about the education my child will get, but I don’t worry about his eating.