FIRST PERSON | When my parents attended college back in the late 1980s, life was much different than it is today. They lived in a world that was more connected in the everyday physical interactions they had with the people around them. Based on discussions I have had with not only my parents, but the friends they attended college with, college students have it easy in today’s world. Here are some of the major reasons why.
24/7 Access to Professors
I recall one evening where my stepfather and I were in a deep conversation about our college experiences. He attended SUNY Potsdam in 1987 and remembers having to wait until the next class day to ask his professor a question. In 2013, however, my professors are eager to accept e-mails at any time during the day, and will even reply at 3 in the morning sometimes. Most of the time, we are given their direct phone number during the first class as well. There have been time where I have even text messaged my professors.
Necessity of Computers
Since I began attending the University of New England for Social Work, I have learned how much easier a computer has made my life. My mother and stepfather did not have access to this type of resource when they were in college. I also submit most of my papers online through an academic website called Blackboard. So if the due date is August 12th, I don’t have to complete it by the beginning of class. I can simply submit by midnight and still have it in on time. My parents had to hand in a paper copy before their class began. Technology has improved students’ access to education and flexibility with homework.
Expectations of College
In today’s world, college is much more of an expectation than it was during my parents’ college years. More employers are requiring their employees to have a college education and many of them even provide tuition reimbursement programs to help students pay for college. This is something my parents remember not having access to. If you want to be in a successful career, you must have a college education or have some type of certification, especially in the small Upstate New York town where I’m from.
A lot has changed in the college world since the late 1980s. At 23 years old and expecting to graduate from college in 2017, I feel that college has begun to prepare me for a world that is extremely virtually interconnected. My parents couldn’t Facebook message their professors when they needed help with homework, they couldn’t take out their cell phone and send them a text message. Even the social aspect of college has changed. I speak to all my friends from college on several different social media sites and through text messages. I hardly ever actually speak to them on the phone, simply because it is not necessary. I don’t have to call a bunch of people to meet up for dinner or to go out, all I have to do is send a group message on Facebook right from my phone and all of my friends receive it. My parents lived in a world where physical interaction was one of the only ways they connected with other people during college.