College has changed since I last attended it. No one looks at each other anymore. I walk around campus looking into the faces of those around me. Looking them in the eyes trying to take measure of the sack of flesh before me, but were I to see a spark of anything worth interacting with, I would not be able to get through to the fucker because of earphones shoved in ears and eyes only for the text message screen. I am not sure if it is because this is a post-Columbine, post-9/11, post-Virginia Tech society or if just because kids today grow up with instant messaging, e-mail, and all other sorts of ways to electronically interact.
I attend a small school, Robert Morris University only has about 5,000 students total. Yet, this is what boggles my mind. It is so much harder to be anonymous in a smaller setting. I went to a small high school. Regardless of levels of interaction, the younger kids knew who all of the older kids were. I routinely hang out with people who have no real recollection of my attending our high school. I remember them, because they were older and we wanted to talk to them.
In college, I went to Lock Haven University right after high school and it was more of a small community than anything. Everyone knew everyone and there were always the same three parties happening at various locations around campus. They got it right. If you are going to have to look at each others' faces all the time, why not see what it looks like after they take one shot too many? The dating scene was even more dramatic. Yet, there was no text-stalking or facebook flaming or myspace blasting or skype fisting or anything other than, "I had heard that your man/girl was…." Etc.
I look around at my peers in school and some of them are a decade younger than I am. They seem to know so little, and know that they know so little. When I was 18 I didn't know anything, but I thought I knew everything. These mediocre bastards are quite happy with being ignorant and are in school hoping to find "a good job." I remember looking at some of the less scholarly members of the military when I was serving and thinking that we got those that have no place in college. Yet, now that I see the kids on campus at RMU and I know that those hardworking, thick-headed numbskulls in the Army would have no trouble getting through school other than the awareness that they were not maximizing their potential.
These kids need a little weirdness in their lives. A little bit of blind, irrational ambition. Are we training a generation of worker-bees to pay off the debts of the future? How long until it is just a few pigs around the table, dividing up all of the nation's wealth once the youth has been stripped of real ambition. Or maybe I just picked a fucked-up school? I don't know. The good thing is, I could steal all kinds of stuff from Back to School because these kids have probably never even heard of Rodney Dangerfield. Let the shenanigans begin….