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Another year underway! A time of seeing old friends, meeting new ones and cooking delicious college foods like pasta and burritos. Cooking together is a fantastic bonding experience, too.
Because I’m an elitist, I regard cooking as an intricate art form of finesse and experience that takes years of trial and error to master. Seriously, you’d be surprised how much skill it takes to throw a hodgepodge of edible things into a frying pan. Or, rather, you’d be surprised how often I fail at it.
Lucky for everyone, I recently received an item sure to revolutionize my cooking: a crock-pot. Every college student should have one. Letting food cook while one spends the day in class saves time and makes for an excellent dinner. It’s easy, simple and makes food tastes like food, which is a step up from many staples in a college diet. I feel like I’ve become an expert chef, ranking myself somewhere between Emeril and June Cleaver in the cooking craft.
Alas, many students won’t experience the joys of cooking for themselves anytime soon. In fact, a large amount of students are stuck paying a huge fee every year to be spoon fed food from our campus food services. I don’t necessarily have a problem with the idea. Many freshmen would undoubtedly starve without regular meals, but it’s the lack of any other options that bothers me, along with the fact that freshmen are routinely equated with incompetence.
The real world is looming close by, and the sooner basic skills like cooking are utilized, the better. Cooking is a life skill that everybody must learn eventually. Why wait until late in college?
This should be about options. If students coming to college don’t feel they are ready to deal with the responsibility of feeding themselves, then have them sign on the dotted line and eat at the cafeteria all year. But for those who are ready now, why deprive them of the opportunity? There’s no gain for anyone.
Linfield is preparing students for life after college, and life after college doesn’t include a cafeteria. In real life, those who can’t adapt and survive are cut out, not catered to. College should encourage students to step up and take care of themselves, not lazily have somebody else take care of them. It’s insulting to be treated as a child when one is trying to be adult.
The costs also bother me. See, a meal plan costs $2,000 per semester. That is unnecessarily expensive for disappointing food because it’s made in bulk. It’s pricey for food we often won’t eat. It’s just plain expensive. Do you think anyone with a kitchen spends $2,000 to feed themselves every three months?
I’m trying to imagine how much delicious food my roommate and I could buy with $4,000 every semester. I don’t think I could eat that much. I doubt four football players could eat that much.
And this is food I’d enjoy, mind you. Not food produced for efficiency.
Well maybe I’ll just cook for myself and not worry too much about it. I’d like to think part of being an adult is dealing with impractical systems and questionable, expensive food. I guess things could be a lot worse.
The meal plan does have some benefits. (I’m thinking of you, corndog day.) Still, I’d rather learn through trial and error than be spoon fed meals because people are afraid I might fail at cooking. That would be my own fault. It will be for the rest of my life, anyway.
Columnist Matt Olson can be reached at email@example.com.
Well, I’ll admit it. I’m mostly a square, a straight-laced student who doesn’t spend a lot of his time breaking the rules. I also tend to spend my weekends watching movies and playing Cranium, generally avoiding the whole partying scene. Having lived in Potter Hall and currently enjoying an apartment in the Whites, I’ve been privileged to watch stampedes of party-goers for the last year. They confidently stroll down the street a little after dark, the guys in trendy suits and the girls click-clacking on the pavement with their 6-inch heels and not much else. I’m starting to get used to the flashing lights outside my window, too. I’ve begun to grow accustomed to opening blinds and watching Mac PD read people their rights or question a group of red-eyed students. My nights tends to get a lot less boring, especially if I can’t hear them and I do the whole “make up the conversation they might be having” routine with my girlfriend.
I witnessed one such event last night involving a plethora of officers, minors and assorted drunk/high/angry students. There was a lot of yelling and unhappiness, and many of the students felt they were being treated unfairly. I’ll admit I have no great love for authority, and so I naturally took the students side. It wasn’t hard to justify either, since most students behave like normal, intelligent adults at parties. A huge amount of social/responsible drinkers are out there, confused why alcohol is even an issue. For them it’s never been about that. When I occasionally choose to drink (I’m 21), I always question why the drink I’m holding is such a big deal. Aren’t we as students intelligent enough to make our own decisions? Clearly the problem is at hand is not about alcohol, but whether or not teenagers are responsible enough to make their own decisions.
I’m guessing most of my generation would say that they are and most of the generations in authority would say they are not. So what happens? A disjuncture between the generations and rebelliousness against authority. Students no longer care about the law and they no longer care about the consequences. Likewise authorities consider it their solemn duty to stop the lawlessness that’s occurring in houses across America. This is a problem. I can only stand on my side of the tape, but I’m starting to see why the authorities respond so forcefully at times. This is about authority and this is about letting a younger generation understand that they must obey the rules others built before them. Except by doing this they are ensuring this disjuncture continues and are enabling thousands of students to reject their authority. It’s a fine line to walk, but authorities need to connect with those below them respectfully while reminding them they are doing for the community. Too forceful and people get alienated by those trying to protect them.
What I’m implying here is that authorities need to be smarter about how they interact with our students and our generation. Yes, students are going to party and are going to break the law. Instead of charging in every time, perhaps checking in and monitoring a party might be a better idea. Maybe allow a few events to go on and politely ask a few of the crazier get-togethers to disperse. The students are not trying to break the law; they’re trying to have a good time. I’d like for my generation to come into the real world as leaders and as members of society, not as deviants preaching against our system in place. Deal with students as if they were citizens, not as criminals. They’ve been educated for years and years about decision making. Give them a chance to prove it.
Columnist Matt Olson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org