It’s Friday, you have had an extremely stressful week, and all you want to do is unwind. What will you do? Just based on the norm alone, college students are essentially expected to go out, party and consume copious amounts of alcohol. Movies like “American Pie,” “National Lampoon’s Animal House” and “Back to School” do an incredible job portraying college as a massive, wild party. The expected outcome is that when fresh high school graduates finally step on their desired college’s grounds, their intent is to fulfill that stereotype.
But according to new research from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), fewer college freshmen are spending their nights partying. But before focusing in that study, understanding where this trend is coming from is crucial. One of the reasons why this may be taking place could be the rising cost of education.
According to Claudio Sanchez’s article “How the Cost of College Went from Affordable to Sky-High,” quite a few states have seen an increase of almost 70 percent in the price of college education over the past few decades. The fact that education is so stupidly expensive now, with the average amount of student debt nearing $50,000 per student, shows that people are beginning to value that piece of paper one receives after four to five years of arduous work. Having a college degree does not guarantee anyone a job anymore, so having a high grade point average (GPA), leadership experience and other forms of school involvement can make a person standout from a potential competitor. But the data shows that the percentage of college freshmen who reported drinking fell over 50 percentage points from its peak of almost 74 percent in 1982 to about 33.4 percent.
The survey also stated that about 37 percent of the participants did not party at all, 33 percent of them claimed that they partied between one to five hours a week. Almost 14 percent of them partied more than six hours a week – a huge drop from the 63 percent stated in 1987 (via Huffington Post).
So what does that mean? We live in an era that knowledge is on the tip of our hands. Sure, it sounds like fun to attempt to fulfill the stereotype and become crazed party animals like John “Bluto” Blutarsky, the main character of “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” but the times have changed. We are more aware of the difficulties that take place in our society. It is a lot harder to find a job, even with a college degree these days. The economy is still recovering from the financial crisis that took place in 2008, and it is getting more difficult to pay for school, as student loans have already become the second highest source of personal debt in the United States, at about 1.3 trillion dollars (via New York Daily News).
The best way to protect ourselves is doing well in school, because even though having a high GPA does not increase one’s chances of getting a job post-graduation, by having that security blanket along with work and leadership experience, the chances of being successful increase exponentially. The next time you are about to blow off all of your homework and such in order to have a good time with your friends, ask yourself the following question: Will overwhelming yourself for the sake of having a good time be worth it?
Jideobi Ezeonu is the voices editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.