Studying? What’s that?

Earlier this summer, the* Boston Globe* had an excellent piece looking at fresh data on student studying patterns.

What did it find? College students – frosh in particular – don’t study that much. The *Globe *writes:

It is a fundamental part of college education: the idea that young people don’t just learn from lectures, but on their own, holed up in the library with books and, perhaps, a trusty yellow highlighter. But new research, conducted by two California economics professors, shows that over the past five decades, the number of hours that the average college student studies each week has been steadily dropping . . . to under 15 hours a week.

The findings, which will be published in The Review of Economics and Statistics, concludes that studying has decreased across the board, at all types of schools, including big-named institutions like Stanford.

Are Stanford students lazy? John Bravman, former Provost, doesn’t think so — he thinks we’re just busier. The *Globe *writes:

John Bravman, vice provost for undergraduate education at Stanford University, said that what he worries about these days is not that students are lazy, but that they are too busy — busier than previous generations of Stanford students.

> “Much busier,” Bravman said, describing the “on-demand” world that students work in today. “I was a student here from ’75 to ’79. I was reasonably engaged in things. But I had so much free time compared to students today. They do so many things — it’s amazing.”

This is probably true for Stanford students, who, for the most part, pour their energies into involved extracurricular activities.

Even so,  isn’t that missing the traditional point of higher education? Students have their entire lives to rush from meeting to meeting, starting groups with acronym-larded names and slick logos.  Shouldn’t college be a break from that breathless professional race and instead offer a lifestyle centered on thinking, debating, problem-solving and personal growth? A lifestyle with a pace and rhythm all its own,  a life stage that is not – cannot – be replicated again?

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