The College Student Complex

I think that college students have a complex.  It’s a complex that I’m sure infects more of the population than just college students in America, but in my personal experience, I’ve seen it to be especially prevalent in college universities.  I know I’ve suffered and probably still do suffer from it.  It’s the “it’s all about me” complex.  Aren’t we supposed to have grown out of that mindset during adolescence?  Or maybe the mental development that does away with that mindset is happening later and later now…

Either way, the more time I spend around college campuses, the more I hear rants from college students going, “Oh my goodness, I have so many tests…I don’t know how I’m going to do this all…my professors are ridiculous, don’t they know how busy we are?…My life is crazy!”  I’ve probably uttered all of these phrases more than once in my college career, but I wonder if college students every sit back and think about how many of those grievances revolve around them?  What are they giving back to the community at this point that even gives us a right to complain with such an emphasized “me factor”?  Really, when you think about it, for the most part college students just soak in resources, time, knowledge.  Okay, if you count the tuition that we pay, maybe we’re giving back to the community (but really, does that community stretch beyond the college campus?).  But beyond that, we just absorb: we absorb out professors’ time, we absorb enormous quantities of food and energy, we absorb knowledge, we take up space in towns and cities…and what do we give outside of the college bubble?  Granted you do have programs in some colleges that try to give back to the community, but what percentage of college students participate in that of their own volition?  Some do, but the large majority don’t.  Some of us work on campus, but that isn’t really impacting the community at all…it’s helping to sustain the college.

A lot of this is probably also culturally connected to America’s individualistic mindset.  It eventually trickles down to the education system.  Education merely perpetuates it.  Parents convince their children that they are the most special person in the world and are brilliant.  So many of the current philosophies of education are so student focused–which isn’t necessarily bad until they get to the point that students aren’t expected to give back.  It only continues in college.  College students consume.

What would happen if, for once in their college careers, students stopped complaining about their own work load and started giving back to the community?  What would happen if education was restructured so that this was the focus?


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