Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Kids Today

I am finally back in the classroom, and as every year passes, I get another year older than the crop of mostly seniors and juniors who show up in my finance class. Next year, if not already, I will likely be twice as old as some of them. And after that ... a genuine generation gap.

The Boston Globe has two recent articles about college students. There are kernels of truth in each of them, though neither is entirely accurate. Here they are:

The New Me Generation

The crop of talented recent graduates coming into today's workforce is widely
seen as narcissistic and entitled. And those are their best qualities.

At the elite colleges - dim white kids
What they almost never say is that many of the applicants who were rejected were far more qualified than those accepted. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, it was not the black and Hispanic beneficiaries of affirmative action, but the rich white kids with cash and connections who elbowed most of the worthier applicants aside.



James said...

I take as a given that most press reports are not "entirely accurate." What are the major inaccuracies, though, especially in the second piece?

Francisco said...

I couldn't agree more with the first article. How many times have I thought that my students are a bunch of brats?

International students who grew up abroad are definitely less demanding. Why would that be? I have three hypotheses:

(a) They grew up in poorer families, where they were not entitled to as many material comforts as richer kids.

(b) They grew up in countries where self-expression and open criticism are not encouraged

(c) They grew up in more religious environments (similar to b)

Tom said...

When child #1 was applying, I came across a study from some professor from the midwest (KSU?) who showed that kids who were accepted to the "elite" schools but DID NOT attend wound up just as successful as those who did. Proving that what the elite schools are best at is predicting success at an early age.

Anonymous said...

Weren't the Baby Boomers known as the 'Me Generation' for many years? In 2006, a writer for USA Today (admittedly not the greatest source) even went to far as to claim, "Baby boomers are commonly thought to be the most self-absorbed generation in American history." The articles Professor Samwick provides strike me as typical examples of older adults complaining about the attitudes of younger generations, a phenomenon that repeats itself with every passing generation. The so-called 'Greatest Generation' said it about Baby Boomers and Generation X, Baby Boomers say it about Generation X and the Millenial Generation, and I'm sure the Generation X folks will say it about the Millenial Generation and the generation after that. There may be other legitimate claims from Professor Samwick's articles, but the notion that today's younger generations are unique in their self-obsession is bunk.

Mark said...
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