The Economy Is Making College Kids Less Mentally Stable, More Ambitious

As if you needed more proof that college kids are depressed these days, an annual study called “The American Freshman” has found that kids entering college this year are even more mentally unhealthy than usual. However, due to fears of the economy and stress that they’ll never be as successful as their parents, these kids are more ambitious. Great. Just what we need right now in the world – more Tracy Flicks.

According to the survey of 400,000 kids entering college this year, only 52% self-identify as being “above average” in the mental health department. That’s a historic low. 12% also say they have a disability or “medical condition” and nearly 30% were “frequently overwhelmed” during their senior year of high school. Also, a record high of 73% went to college to increase their earning power, which is going to be a major letdown when they try entering the job force.

Also, this survey is taken during freshmen orientation. Which means these kids haven’t even had the opportunity to have their optimism beaten out of them by upperclassmen yet.

Meanwhile, these kids are more ambitious than recent college kids. From The New York Times:

“Students know their generation is likely to be less successful than their parents’, so they feel more pressure to succeed than in the past,” said Jason Ebbeling, director of residential education at Southern Oregon University. “These days, students worry that even with a college degree they won’t find a job that pays more than minimum wage, so even at 15 or 16 they’re thinking they’ll need to get into an M.B.A. program or Ph.D. program.”

Oh silly kids. Good luck with that theory! MBAs and PhDs are way more useless in the marketplace than college degrees.

But don’t worry so much. Your parents will probably let you live at home for awhile after graduation while you figure out what you’re actually going to do with your life.

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