The month of May is the end of the academic year and, at my university, the commencement has already come and gone. This is the season that always makes me reflect on various aspects of academic life, and this year, as I cleaned up my office of materials that accumulated during the hectic academic year, my thoughts turned to how different today’s students seem to be compared to my own university days.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many things about American college life that remain constant despite the passage of time that separates me and my students. I went to a small private college, not unlike the university where I teach now, where the majority of students lived on campus and got to know each other very well. I see very familiar themes in my students’ lives on campus: the “work hard, play hard” ethos; romantic dramas and roommate squabbles; study sessions at a local diner and a midnight fast-food run; gossiping about professors.