FIRST PERSON | When my parents were working at the University of Nevada, Reno in the 1970s, the college environment could almost be described as an entirely different world in contrast to what it is today, or at least that’s from what I can tell whilst attending Grand Canyon University.
The computer stations in every section of the school library that communicate with a single Wi-Fi enabled router to enhance the overall efficiency of the workplace which we take for granted today were entirely nonexistent back then. Messages were communicated between workers by either a message printed on a typewriter or through good, old fashioned pen and paper that was then carried by an official office deliveryman from one place to another whom many would call the “miniature mailman.” In a world ruled by Wi-Fi services and Bluetooth printers and fax machines, the differences between today and yesterday as a whole are vast, let alone at individual universities.
Speaking of Wi-Fi, the Internet in general has opened up an entire world that just wasn’t available during the years our parents were attending (or in my parents’ case, working at) college. University-run Facebook and Twitter pages allow a wholly new level of interconnectivity between students, professors, and the rest of the school administration.
In the cafeteria, what was once dictated by student ID and a pocketful of cash now has an alternative way of payment available for certain students in the form of what some know as “food points.” Trevor, a good friend of mine, attends University of California, Berkeley, which was to his knowledge one of the first schools to adopt this point system. He says that, basically, when students live on campus, they are allotted a certain amount of these points which they are able to cash in on in the form of free food and other amenities until they either run out or expire.
When either happens during the year before the points automatically replenish, kids can purchase more for a certain amount of extra money on their school bill. It’s a fairly effective way of watching what you eat on top of being a wonderful incentive and an efficient new way to pay for services on campus.
The way campus society runs itself is also a heck of a lot superior to what it was like back in the day from what I have heard from various friends and family members. Dormitories were a lot like what you’d expect had you been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in terms of floors and buildings dedicated to entirely one gender, kept in the “safe” confines of their school-homes by hall monitors that would only allow friends of the opposite sex to visit at particular times. In this day and age, rules like that are a lot looser. Kids can visit their friends essentially at any time they desire — it is their prerogative to get their work done and follow all of the basic guidelines of “how not to be stupid”, and administration has stepped back in trying to force things upon their students because that has been proven to just not work.
Aside from the ways school services and society has evolved since yesteryear, many would argue that in today’s world, it is a whole lot more important to obtain your degree than it was in the ’60s and ’70s. Jobs which our parents and grandparents had obtained purely through working up the ladder from paperboy to president almost always require some sort of college degree alongside the experience. My father made his way up to general manager of a string of car washes through pure experience alone, though it is arguable that to obtain a similar job myself now, I would have to obtain my Master of Business Administration, which is what I’m gunning to receive around 2019 or 2020.