Why is our Generation so Insecure and Afraid?

  1. In Todd Gitlin’s article, You are here to be Disturbed, he claims that students nowadays going to universities are scared of issues going on in the world and at their future campus before even arriving or having anything happen to them. He believes that society today is becoming to “thin skinned” and are letting issues get to us before anything even happens. One of the examples he uses is about college students, particularly females, and their fear of sexual assault. He asks his readers, “Is sexual assault on campus more common than ever, requiring new levels of preventive intervention? Or is the fear of rape, surely realistic up to a point, inordinate?” (Gitlin). Following this statement he also shows data stating that in our generation, anxiety is the number one reason students are meeting with counselors and that about half of the students end up seeking counseling help at least once while attending college. Giltin claims that studies have been shown to stating that anxiety issues in college students nowadays aren’t just about whole world issues, such as rape, or race issues, but instead are about more personal issues, like work and debt. Do you believe that this increase of anxiety in students is a big issue? Were you surprised to see the huge increase in data from previous generations to ours now? What do you think should be done to try to help students to not feel as anxious or stressed?

 

  1. In Lee McIntyre’s article, Willful ignorance on campus, he discusses how students on today’s campuses are less willing to listen to new opinions, and instead just focus on their own. He states, “Willful ignorance is when we know that there are other ideas out there, but we refuse to consider them. We believe in our own positions so strongly that no amount of evidence can persuade us to change it, such as when vaccine deniers continue to insist that the shot for measles, mumps, and rubella causes autism, despite a mountain of scientific studies that have discredited that view.” (McIntyre). In today’s society many people only have a one track mind of thinking about an issue, and think it’s only my way and no other way. What do you think about some of the points he made in his article? Do you see more people exhibiting willful ignorance around our campus? Do you think we should try to change this or do you think that having and sticking with your views without outside influences trying to change your mind is a good thing?

 

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Is Education Curbed by Fear and Ignorance?

1.) In his recent article entitled “Willful Ignorance on Campus,” Lee McIntyre stresses the importance of being uncomfortable in a campus classroom to rid our generation of its overpowering “willful ignorance.” By this, he means that students should have their beliefs challenged by the professors and by other students so that they do not leave college believing that the only relevant side to the argument is their own. McIntyre asserts that “An education that shields students from discomfort turns colleges into country clubs that give credentials.” He is stressing the importance of challenging a students’ ideals. If a student does not have any opposition to his or her beliefs, but instead only receives praise or support, he or she will go into the work world and not be able to take into account the feelings and beliefs of other people, making them arrogant and closed-minded. Do you agree with McIntyre that being uncomfortable is a vital part of a college education? Or do you have a different view on things? Why or why not?

2.) Todd Gitlin questions the “hypersensitivity” of our generation in his article “You Are Here to be Disturbed.” He talks about bleaks topics such as rape, depression, and anxiety. Gitlin introduces and opposes the idea of “trigger warnings,” or advisement of upcoming information or visuals that call for the discretion of the viewer. He states that, “The proper way to begin understanding [the world] is to accept the unwritten contract of university education: I am here to be disturbed.” The author believes that things such as “trigger warnings” and censoring hinder the course of learning, as they shield the students from the true colors of the world. What is your stance on “trigger warnings?” Do you think that we should eliminate them in a college setting, to expose students to all of the tragedies of the world? Are there certain situations in which they should be used and others in which they can be omitted?

3.) Author Fredrik deBoer talks about fear as something that suppresses academic freedom in colleges in his article entitled “Watch What You Say.” Being a university employee himself, deBoer is frustrated with the mixed messages being put out by our society for professors and other university works alike. He states, “this advice to carefully watch one’s words comes at precisely the same time that more and more people, both within and outside academe, are calling for more public engagement by professors.” He is discontented because he believes that it is the job of the professor to speak freely, in hopes of teaching students about the real world. He believes that learning has become sheltered because professors are scared to say what they really want to say, but also scared because they feel like they must put in their own input in order to really teach. In this day, do you think that we are encouraging professors to be more public about their opinions or more quiet? Which do you think is better for the college setting?