Staff Editorial – 3/20

Overindulgence of teenagers creates lingering dependency in college

staff

Life skills wanted.

We have yet to learn what the ‘on’ button on a washing machine looks like, but we’d be hard-pressed to find a student in these hallways who couldn’t recite the quadratic formula on a whim. Mason is a college-prep high school to the extreme: we can now manage textbook-crammed backpacks heavier than large mammals, fill out scantrons with our eyes closed and handle brain-splintering classes without suffering (complete) explosion. As far as the academics of college are concerned, we’re ready.

But with college academia comes complete independence, a shift for which most of us couldn’t be less ready. Though we’ve all known a friend to score a 32 or higher on the ACT, few of us have ever packed our own lunch or learned the hard way that our red Ohio State hoodie has no place in the same laundry load as our white-out tee.

And yet it isn’t the school’s responsibility to wean us off the training wheels. Because we know time management–we juggle sports, part-time jobs and homework piles too heavy for the Yeti–but making our own dinner and washing our own socks was never learned through y=mx+b.

While we’re cramming for that Calc final, our moms bring us plates of chicken, mac and cheese and something green she’s still optimistic enough to believe we’ll eat. She saves us from a night without dinner: we’d never cook for ourselves; we’d never make time to eat.

In the morning, she’ll come in to wake us instead of the alarm, despite her reminders the night before that “You should have been in bed an hour ago.” Her momma bear instincts are strong enough that she’s willing to help us with everything–gas money, college essays, scheduling all our doctors’ appointments. And we let her because she’s our mom, and we love her, and that laundry bin is growing feelers.

But then our senior year arrives, and we realize too much helping is hurting. Suddenly we’re halfway across the country and don’t know where to get money when our piggy banks are depleted. We’re still as dependent in our post-high school days as we were under our parents’ roofs.

It’s our job to unscrew our training wheels, unearth that favorite pair of sweatpants from the laundry pile and wash it ourselves.

Because sometimes the best help is none at all.