Manufacturing Stress

I was listening to the CBC about crisis management at places you might be surprised to hear are experiencing a virtual tidal wave of crises lately – Canadian universities. What’s it all about? Wait for it,…, student stress!

It’s an “epidemic”. The time and social pressures of attending university these days are just overwhelming;┬ástudents are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress these days. Here are (most of) the enumerated causes: homesickness, adjusting to their new “status”, the “first visit home breakup” with a boy/girlfriend, assignment deadlines, mark pressure.

Anything about this sound kind of weird to you? For my money, it sounds exactly the same as university’s been since, well, at least 40 years ago when I was there. Unless my 50+ year-old memory is playing tricks on me, all those stressors were operative back then. Only thing is, it was all so much fun, it was plain liberating. I didn’t even realize I was stressing out. Dumb me.

Let’s get serious here; anyone who’s so totally stressed out about the university experience has either just been released from a hermetic bubble or is looking for attention their babysitter didn’t provide as part of a normal upbringing. Whoever’s banging this particular drum is busy drumming up another manufactured social issue. Nonetheless, university officials are taking this ‘epidemic’ seriously – numerous, institutional “resources” are being deployed, we’re told – much to my complete bewilderment.

This is just another step in the wimpification of young folks, probably fallout from that pervasive self-esteem parenting ideology. The more pseudo-dysfunctions identified by self-proclaimed social scientists, the more self-identification and diagnosis you’re going to find to throw unnecessary resources at.

If the university experience is so chock full of stress to make getting through it on your own impossible, better think twice about entering the workforce; just settle in with the folks at home for the long haul. Someone is sure to keep your diapers washed, dinner on the table and your stress level manageable.

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