Animal House: Why college kids behave badly

Work, Hunger, Responsibility & Restraint

Animal House: Why college kids behave badly

As a kid I remember driving past a college with my mother. As we past a frat house a man standing on top of a car pull down is pants and  “mooned” all of the street traffic passing by. I remember being a bit startled and thinking what kind of sick or crazy person would be doing that -- certainly someone should call the police. I doubt the  police were called, after all, this was a college campus and this kind  of behavior is to be expected.

Why is it that young adults at college are far more likely to be have like animals than other young people their age that skip college and go  directly into the work force?

Natural Restraint - Parental Authority

When you still live with your parents, as teenagers, they provide for  your needs but you are under their supervision and authority. Your  parents are your restraint as we see with curfews and grounding and  rules that they lay out for their children. They make you clean up your  room do your chores, etc. Your parents use their authority to make sure  you are responsible.

Natural Restraint - Hunger

When you are out on your own and have to provide for yourself you  have a natural tendency to be responsible. It is very natural progress of leaving the home to be on your own and provide for yourself. If you are irresponsible - you feel it.  You go hungry, you have creditors hounding you, your landlord kicks you out when you don’t pay your rent and your boss fires you when you do  something stupid. Young adults will quickly learn to be responsible unless there is some outside force propping them up – enabler parents,  government welfare or four years of college loans.

College - No restraint

A typical college engagement today involves young adults leaving home for the first time and living off of loans (sometimes scholarships or parents) for four years of their life. They are now out from under the authority of their parents AND YET have no responsibilities to provide food and shelter for themselves either.

This combination is always a disaster! (Debauchery and unfettered irresponsibility ensue.)

No person that has to pay for his own food and shelter can get away with binge drinking and generally being a horses ass for years at a time.

However, this is the experience that colleges and universities market to young people and is often one of the main things they look forward  to. Even thoughtless parents want their children to have this carefree time to be irresponsible and on their own to delay having to “grow up”.

Carefree ain’t all it’s cracked up to be – many recent college  graduates are racked with debt and have no real life experience to help  them get started after the loan payments kick in.

A better way

There are several other alternatives that I would recommend:

  • Home study the first 2 or 3 years at home while working.
  • Work and pay for college as you go.
  • Delay college. Get some work experience under your belt and figure yourself out before you decide what you really want to do.
  • Skip college altogether. College is a terrible purchase most of the time. Learn a trade like I did and spend four years bypassing your friends.

These options are not as glamorous but you may finish college free of 10s of thousands of dollars in debt, free of venereal disease, a good conscience, and much better prepared for life.