Most of my students work 30-40 hours a week. They live off-campus, with their partners, with their children, with their parents. A significant number are not just in-town though off-campus, but commuters from a good way away, just as I am. On weekends they’re at work, or doing their homework, or cutting the grass and ferrying kids around, not at football games, not at frat parties. We do have fraternities and sororities, and I can believe there’s some alcohol abuse on Frat Row. But I’m not seeing it: those students are majoring in something other than English.
My students have trouble, academically, for varying reasons: they went to bad high schools. It’s been too long since they were in the classroom. Their baby had an ear infection and they haven’t slept in days. Somebody else didn’t show up for work and they had to work an extra shift. Although they’re not working extra, they are working, and they only had 3 hours to work on a paper that needed 6. Their chronic illness isn’t under control and they spent the night in the ER. Their National Guard unit was unexpectedly called up. Their anti-depression meds aren’t quite right. And, sure, there is some ordinary not-getting-it-together, some bad study habits and time management skills, some garden-variety colds and break-ups, as well.
If a person goes straight from a pressure-cooker high school, overseen by helicopter parents, to an expensive college where paying tuition seems to guarantee a prestigious degree, and where students suddenly have a whole lot more freedom and independence than they’re used to, then I can see why schools like Tenured Radical‘s might have this problem.
But it’s not a big problem at LRU, and I wish people would stop tarring all “colleges” with the same brush. They vary by region, by mission, by student body and by culture, as well as by size and rankings.