Obligatory dorm-room makeovers
Here is an NYT article about how sheltered the Millennials continue to live, even after they've shipped off to college.
Far from wanting to start their own lives, which necessarily means beginning with little and building up over time through effort, they want their parents to shell out $200 or $300 and up to furnish their dorm rooms, to keep them up to the standards they've been used to at home.
Their helicopter parents are of course only too eager to oblige. I mean, how are Kaylabella and Chaysen supposed to get any work done without a standing mirror, big screen TV, and a stocked fridge nearby?
With that level of material comfort, physical security, liberation from household chores, and lack of direct parental supervision (although now subject to a continual stream of cell phone check-ups), you'd think they'd be in hog heaven and living it up all the time.
In reality, though, college kids have never been in a more ongoing vegetative, joyless state, nor been so averse to the party hardy culture that is supposed to pervade the campus. The girls are plugged into Facebook and texting, while the guys are plugged into video games (alone) and internet porn. On the rare occasion when they do throw a party, they just sit around chit-chatting or huddling around the two beer pong players.
It feels like one of those Parents Weekend parties when kids act all well-behaved so they're none the wiser, only the monitor and spotlight are so internalized that that's their ordinary way of carrying on!
Adolescents need to start off low on the totem pole, to motivate them to get stuff done, and to enjoy and savor a higher state of being once they experience it. It also makes them pool their limited resources and thereby develop social bonds. When your dorm room is nothing to write home about, you enjoy the party that the hosts worked on to make sure that it'd be a blast. Not to mention the anticipation beforehand. And all of that required a team effort, not just running your mommy and daddy's credit cards.
I also think that a drabber dorm room forces them to seek out relief through social means -- even a dopey-looking room comes alive with the right people and the right activities. All this dorm room makeover stuff seems like a way to avoid such social channels, and to seek relief by surrounding themselves with distracting toys.
Then it's just more of the same once they graduate college but move back in with their folks until age 35. How about a tax break for parents who spend less than $10 on their kids' freshman dorm decor? Something. Shit.