back to school
This Is You
Field notes on the undergrad species
by Stephen LaRose
Everybody gets it. It’s all about you. You’re the student in the middle of one of the most exciting times of life. You’re a rock star on the stage of your destiny and the glow from your mirror is so bright you can’t even see anything else. But you know what? Oldsters and people with actual responsibilities ARE paying attention to your tomfoolery. And here’s some of their observations on your shenanigans.
“The Students’ Union took over assigning on-campus lockers to students a couple of years ago. At the end of August, just before the new semester begins, we have to cut off the locks and empty the lockers that some students may have abandoned, or forgotten that they have. You’d be surprised about the stuff that they leave behind — textbooks, iPods, even laptops. I mean, you need these things to get through your semester, don’t you? And I think I would want to know where I left a laptop. We keep them for a month, and if we tell the person who left the stuff behind that they have a month or so to pick it up at the Students’ Union office.” —Kaytlin Barber, External vice president, University of Regina Students’ Union
“In the past six years, we’ve been noticing that the students who are just reaching the age they can drink legally know a lot more about liquor, or at least are a lot more brand-conscious. It used to be that they would say, ‘give me a vodka.’ Now, they’re more likely to specify the brand they want to drink. So that tells me that this generation is having a lot more experience with alcohol before they reach 19 than those of, say, 10 years ago or more. Alcohol also tends to make people more carefree with their romantic escapades. You still see aggressive behavior — I mean, they’re more actively seeking a partner. But the biggest change is that as many women as men are going out, being more up front that they’re looking for someone casual.
“Kids these days also seem to have a lot more disposable income, and they’re saving it up, a lot of times, for the weekends. Bars have always had people binge-drinking but it’s only now that there’s more public outcry about it. I had a talk with a student from the University of Texas, where alcohol isn’t allowed on campus. He was surprised at all the alcohol on a Canadian university campus. In the United States the drinking age is 21 and universities, such as the U of T, impose a lot more control over student alcohol use.” —Anonymous bartender in an unnamed bar catering to the U of R crowd
“I worked for a winter a couple of years ago doing security at one of the U of R residences. I had a shift from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. You know, I attended the U of S in the early 1950s, and my two children also attended university in the late ’80s and early ’90s, so I’m not totally naive. I was like these kids, once, and I had kids, too.
“But, geez. When I worked nights, you’d see kids coming in with lots of beer and lots of pizzas, and I’d think, ‘how could you afford this on a student budget?’ I know the economy was a lot different in the early ’50s, but even allowing for that, I just didn’t understand where they were getting all this money. They would sneak in beer in bottles (alcohol in glass bottles is prohibited) and some of them got pretty mad at me when I would stop them and tell them the rules. I’m not the guy who makes the rules — the university does, and I’m sure they have their reasons. I told them, ‘if you feel that way, you can probably leave the beer with me.’ It’s harder to break a can than it is a bottle, and you won’t cut anybody.
“And partiers, holy … once I had to bust up a party where they had 25 people in a room for four. Probably annoyed the hell out of them, but their partying was probably annoying people who were studying or trying to get some sleep.
Let’s just say I got one hell of an education. I’m glad I’m posted somewhere else.” —Anonymous security guard
“Some kids get a sense of sticker shock — high tuition, high cost for books, housing, this and that. And I can tell — everybody can tell — who’s a first year, who’s a second year. They change. As they stay here, they get more nose-to-the-grindstone. Within one week of school here, they realized it’s more hardcore. But students, they’re all right. No food fights, no issues, mostly. It’s the staff of the university that’s more demanding.” —James Scott, Restaurant owner/operator on campus
(BUT KINDA PIGS)
“You can pick up after yourselves, right? Mom and Dad’s not here.” —Anonymous, janitor.