Many college kids that I know are rudderless ships, bobbing around at sea, avoiding pain at all costs. They gamble on pain and roll the dice. “Should I face the current pain of my school work, or put it off for a later date (or never).” Many choose the latter.
The chickens “came home to roost” this week as colleges reported grades for this past semester.
So many kids who weighed the pain and avoided their current pain (going to class, handing in work), only to receive the later pain of failing the class were stunned.
“I don’t know how I could have failed,” a young college student, James, reported to me. “I did my work.”
James thought he was meeting his basic responsibilities. The reality is he probably handed in about 60% (at best) of the required work, and of the 60% handed in, most of it was probably in the “C to D” range. At no point in the semester did he attempt to meet with his professors to try and see what he can do to make things better.
The truth is on a day-to-day basis, James kept avoiding pain. On average, James probably put in maybe an hour or two (at best) of work each week, even though he was carrying a full course load. Avoiding pain daily, James probably spent about 10 hours or more a day on the internet or playing video games.
Another young man that I know was dropped off on campus each day by his parents, only to avoid going to class, choosing instead to go to the computer lab and hang out on Facebook and a range of other entertainment sites.
The internet is a safe haven for these pain avoiders. Facebook can be quite the narcotic when there is all this painful stuff like schoolwork out there to deal with. The soothing blue tones on the Facebook page are much more pleasing than the harsh white page of a Word document staring at you with no words on the page.
504 Plans and various services are available on all campuses, but unless the kid makes an active decision to take responsibility for his or her own learning, the accommodations are essentially meaningless. The two students mentioned above, did not avail themselves of any accommodations or services.
Having a floppy rudder makes college a very difficult place, indeed.
There are endless ways to stay in the shadows and avoid the pain.