David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Hitting an all time (Mas)low

January 13, 2015

It has taken 13 days for me to get riled up about my first 2015 higher education story. I'm not even referencing President Obama's promise to make community college education free, a proposal of noble intent that, like such proposals often do, lacks the understanding of so many varied, complex issues that it just isn't worth my time to write much about it at this stage.

Besides, why are we worried about making it easier for students to enter college when we have bold initiatives to make it easier for students to enter adulthood after college?  A company called Campus is offering to be the middleperson for college graduates as they deal with those pesky little irritations of actual life.  You know, like buying toilet paper.  You see, you might think The Chronicle of Higher Ed may have overstated this company servicing college graduates directly, but even the original article from Sfist still provides me plenty of grist -- including the toilet paper.

The key quote from the original Sfist (and, yes, that is the accurate name of the publication) article is, "this gives them [22-year olds] a foothold in the city where few others exist, until they can face the 'adult' challenges of landlords and utility bills and fights with neighbors that don't get resolved by an RA."  Yes, that is correct.  "Conflict resolution" is even provided by Campus.  Is a code of conduct hearing next?  Later we are told that this lifestyle "is a reflection of the tech-campus culture that many new transplants experience all day, where snacks and games come standard."

It doesn't help that the whole philosophy behind this start-up company, at least as presented by Sfist, is built upon that god-awful of theories promoted in any number of college classes: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  Everyone remembers it, right, whether it is from "Introduction to Psychology," "Introduction to Sociology," "Microeconomics," "Introduction to Marketing," blah, blah, blah.  You know, the base of the pyramid is physiological needs, then moving up the pyramid, there is safety, then social (love/belonging), then esteem, and at the tiny point at the top of the pyramid is our infamous "self-actualization." 

The problem with today's culture, as evidenced by the Campus beyond the campus, is that the pyramid has been freaking inverted.  It is standing on its point.  Physiological and safety are barely developed; they simply exist in a world where if your helicopter Mom doesn't bring you toilet paper, then your freaking "landlord" will.  (And I won't even guess at who wipes your behind with it.)  Esteem and self-actualization are huge across the top of this inverted pyramid, and the second a kid loses his job from one of their Bay area tech companies, the whole thing will come tumbling down.  And as he looks at the pieces, all he is going to see are chunks and chunks of esteem and self-actualization that aren't going to do him a damn bit of good.

Isn't it bad enough that young adults these days stay in residence halls that are taj mahal-like, now we have to extend it to beautiful furnished apartments? (By the way, if you didn't look at the Sfist article -- and I had to write Sfist again -- do it just to see the sweet "Painted Ladies" -- not at all like those referenced in the Elton John song -- that these kids are living in.) God forbid, they have to manage rats, cooking, and the occasional roommate fight punctuated by flying boxes of cereal (sorry, Steve and Tim, I can't forget that one.)

It is official. I am old. I now have no hope for the young people of this country. 

Get off my lawn, you punk. I actually own it.  And I mow it myself.