September 30, 2020
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Young adults more focused on schoolwork: Study finds students socialize less than in the ’80s

Many students focus more on their work, spending less time with friends.
Many students focus more on their work, spending less time with friends.

By Jackie Basile

According to society, teenagers are often viewed as partying all the time and hanging out with their friends 24/7. A typical assumption of college students is that they are consuming illegal beverages and substances at all times without focusing on class work or studying. If you think this is how students live their lives, then think again.

According to a new U.S. News and World Report, college students are studying more and socializing less.

In 2014, the University of California, Los Angeles published The American Freshman Survey, data consisting of over 150,000 freshman participants currently enrolled in over 200 colleges across the United States. Compared to students from 1987 and now, current students spend less time socializing.

According to the survey, just 38 percent of students reported spending less than five hours with friends per week, while 18 percent said they spend more than 16 hours around others. In 1987, the majority of students said that they socialized more than 16 hours a week.

The report begs the question: why the drastic change? 

Young adults are focusing more on getting good grades now as colleges become more demanding and selective as compared to 1987. Today, colleges have all-time low admission rates, including Ivy League schools. Stanford University, for example, has a 5 percent acceptance rate, and Princeton University has just a 7 percent acceptance rate.

Students in high school are conditioned to excel in everything, from acing the SATs to holding top positions in clubs and playing varsity sports, all to receive that precious acceptance letter at the best possible college. It is drilled into students from the instant they walk through those doors freshman year just how important  and limited their time in high school truly is. With the pressures of doing well in school and extracurricular activities, students have less time to socialize and instead learn to put their education first at all times.

“It’s required to have higher education for jobs now,” freshman open-options humanities and social sciences major Emily Loevy said. “Where in the past you used to need a master’s degree, now you need a PhD. It’s more competitive in the world.”

By the time students start college, the instinct of doing well and being involved on campus does not simply disappear. By having limited time to socialize with friends, the routine of focusing more on schoolwork becomes normal. Many students do not want to drink or do drugs because they want to focus on doing well in their classes.

“It’s so much money to get here that it’s a waste otherwise,” freshman nursing major Madison Lacken said.

Thinking back to those first few days of freshman year, everyone was excited to finally be here at the College. Doors in the hallways were always propped open, and people were constantly in and out of each others rooms. Then, classes started and almost everything changed.

“When classes began, I learned to balance my time better,” freshman computer science major Giacomo Corcione said. “I am now able to hang out with my friends a lot less.”

Gradually, doors began to slowly shut and many ran to the library to get their work done. The entire atmosphere seemed to shift within a day. Students love to have fun, but they know when the right time is to hangout with friends and when it is appropriate to buckle down to get work done on time.

“(In this semester), now that we have classes that have to do with our major, you have to pull yourself away from your friends to focus on individual schoolwork,” freshman open-options business major Holly Billand said.

While classwork is vital of course, it is still healthy to interact with friends. By studying in groups, an individual can be surrounded by friends while also being productive.

Contrary to what many may believe, students are devoted to their work and understand the importance of studying hard. Small steps may just be the answer to a better, strong balance of school work and socialization.

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