06 September 2009


So, the semester has started and one week has passed. There are plenty of people here again. Again, this is the time for the types of thoughts in which I see people who are younger than me, and sometimes I cannot help but feel weird because of it.

So, the incoming freshman body is what? 18 years old? These guys are born in 1991. Wow. I on the other hand was born in 1982, so there's a nine-year difference between the largest contingent in the university (assuming that there are more freshmen than seniors, and more seniors than graduate students) and me.

Sometimes, when I see these young people, I feel like they come from a different planet. Their constraints are different, their preferences are different, everything that is about them seem to be different. I suppose this is reflected perfectly by Asher Roth's song I Love College. If you are curious, find the lyrics online and see what I am talking about.

Don't get me wrong, a part of me actually enjoys that song, even though it is just a small part of me. But the thing is, I do not get why it seems to be the case that for the average American college student, being in college is equivalent to having fun. Not that I condemn having fun, but having fun isn't all there is.

I live in the part of town where there is easy access to transportation to/from downtown and the university. It is the part of town that one doesn't need a car to go to campus, since the South Campus is just across the street, and all one needs to do to head to the North Campus is to ride the shuttle. There is also a metro station, so when one needs to go downtown, then one just hops into that. I don't have a car so this place is very convenient, but it also is party city. There are plenty of youngsters walking at night during the weekends, and they usually are drunk. I suppose this is just another added motivation for me to finish my work here and graduate as soon as I can.

Is it the fact that college here in the United States is the first opportunity for most people to be away from the eyes of their parents? Is it because that college years overlap with being 21, and with that, the legal ability to drink? I don't know the answer to that yet. Somehow, I find it bizarre that in this country, one can legally go to war and kill someone but one is not allowed to drink yet if one is not 21. But I suppose that's a topic for a different post.

Anyway, not that I disdain the freshmen and the undergraduate population. I once was an undergraduate. And not that I disdain having fun once in a while, since I do that myself every now and then, when the stars align properly. But what I do not understand is that it seems that for most undergraduates, having fun, getting drunk, and getting laid is all that matters. Wow. How epicurean, if that is what it really is.

(Star Wars, from my Air and Space Museum Series)


  1. Don't worry, being born in 83, I feel the same... the worse part is, I had to go back to Bac level, so some of my classmates are very young.

    At the eco class I took this summer, I'd say that 25% of the students were my age, already having completed some degrees abroad or in another field. And the 75% left were all into drinking, partying, avoiding going to class etc. Er... yeah.

  2. Zhu,

    Which brings the interesting puzzle, where is the switch? At what age do people realize that life isn't all about partying and avoiding going to classes?

  3. hehehe, I totally see what you mean (and I wrote it in a post in similar setting.)

  4. Priyank,

    I know right. It also reminds me that I am getting old.