College is a place to grow up, not be more coddled
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As the year comes to a close, seniors find themselves in the position they had seen those before them take. Their time in high school and at home is over; college, real life and adult responsibilities are the new mantle every young person must take up and hopefully master.
But, in the year 2016, it feels as though college no longer requires 20 year olds to “grow up”. Instead, many of us find that college campuses, especially liberal arts ones, have become increasingly less representative of the real world. At many colleges, you can have “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” all of which create a world of coddled, sensitive students who no longer have to deal with those who oppose and criticize them.
One can list a variety of evidence for this sentiment becoming more and more popular at campuses. From the students cancelling the showing of “Zoolander 2” because it mocked ‘marginalized identities’ at Claremont McKenna College, to students complaining they felt unsafe at the Emory Campus simply because someone wrote “#Trump2016” in chalk, college students are becoming more and more sensitive by being unable to hear opposing viewpoints.
As a group of teenage writers who are set to join these campuses, we would have one suggestion. Do not think of your college as being your mother or your father; your mental health is not their first priority, nor should it be.
So, for those of you who are going to college next year, remember that the environment has changed. You may not find college to be the welcoming place it is supposed to be; people will disagree with you, people will be mean to you, professors will not like you. But do not be disheartened; these lessons and hardships will make you a better, stronger person in the end.
The real world is a scary place but surviving and flourishing in that environment requires exposure as a first step. College campuses seem to have removed that first step and instead perpetuate the self-entitled attitude many college students seem to have. Many young people have skipped the debate part of growing up and instead chosen to become so ingrained in their preconceived ideals that to hear any other viewpoint is “harmful” to their mental health.
Seeing opposing viewpoints is incredibly vital to growing to be a more accepting, thoughtful person. College is where your ability to survive is tested; it is not a place for you to be micromanaged even further.
Go to college expecting to grow a tough skin and value the experience, you are set to take the reigns of the world from the previous generation; college is the first step in learning how to do so and do a good job.