We have become an entitled society, so it should be no surprise that college students are disregarding COVID-19 guidelines that they previously agreed to in order to have the luxury of living in the dorms and taking classes on campus. Colleges that invited students back to campus for fall semester over the past 2 weeks are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases. From frat and sorority parties to large gathering on campus to bar-hopping, many college students think they are invincible and that they don’t need to heed the rules set by the college administration.
As a result, colleges are scolding groups of students for their reckless and selfish behavior. Some colleges are closing up dorms and sending students home. One thing for sure: college students can and will get COVID if they don’t seriously change the way they socialize and study.
Laurence Steinberg, a psychology professor at Temple University and expert on adolescent behavior says that young adults tend to think more of “immediate rewards rather than long-term consequences.” They need to socialize and even if they understand the severe consequences of breaking the COVID-19 rules, they don’t think they’ll get caught. Sound familiar?
At Boston University, students are permitted to have small gatherings with friends, but warned to not share drinks, to social distance, and to use hand sanitizer. They prefer to have phone sex, keep consistent hook-up buddies, and discuss COVID-19 risks. It seems that Gen Z students have the “f*ck it” attitude about their personal responsibility to other students and the community.
According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, the young adult’s prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain that is responsible for rational thinking — is not fully developed until they reach age 25. That’s 3 years after they graduate from college. So why would we put young adults in a college setting where they need to restrain themselves without their parents and teachers overseeing their activities? We’re simply setting them up to get COVID and to infect their friends, professors, college staff, and the communities they live in.
Maybe we should all stay home until we get the coronavirus under control, have safe treatment plans, and have tested vaccines that can save lives.