“You read a lot about millennial students and how heavily their parents are involved with their education — and they are,” says Mary Desler, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, adding that she spends “roughly a third of my day” on the phone with parents.
“I haven’t set foot yet in the library,” says first-year theater student Chris Eckels (“Apply Yourself,” fall 2005), who lives at Jones, and who, on a wintry Thursday afternoon, shatters the millennial “fashion conformist” stereotype by sporting stoplight-red pants. “Actually, I was at the library once — on a Northwestern tour.” Projects that would have been hair-pullers 20 years ago can now be dispatched with ease, thanks to the Internet.
Kristen Bridgeman, an SESP sophomore from Sharon, Mass., who lives at Pi Beta Phi, says that as a social policy student, she has to compare state laws — a highly manageable job electronically.
“Sleep is for the weak,” says Hope Mc Coy with a sly smile.
The 20-year-old Northwestern sophomore, who grew up in Chicago, is majoring in both piano performance and psychology, tackling “eight years of work in five” and logging four hours of shut-eye each night.
The results are hardly comprehensive but offer a glimpse into the lives of these very busy students. “I have mastered the art of having 10 different windows open while reading a book, with NUTV on in the background.” Samson is not, of course, referring to windows that allow breezes from nearby Lake Michigan to waft through his suite at Slivka, but rather to the electronic windows sliding around his computer screen, competing with old-fashioned book and television.
The mechanical engineering student is an expert multitasker who likes monitoring a constant flow of information, plus entertainment and personal communication, from several different sources at once. I was noticing since I came to college I don’t really have the time or patience to watch the half-hour news on TV anymore,” says Samson, who is from Stow, Mass.
“If I need to look at Massachusetts housing laws, year by year, I can just go on the Massachusetts legislature web site and find all that.” As for the real concrete-and-glass University Library: “It’s all online,” says Rebecca Narrowe, a 19-year-old theater major from Maui.
“If you actually go there, you can waste so much time.” In addition to her course load, Narrowe takes ballet and voice lessons, is on a committee for Dance Marathon, attends meetings of her sorority, Kappa Delta, served as prop master for three recent shows, works six to 12 hours a week selling tickets and house managing at the Theatre and Interpretation Center — and therefore has no time to waste.
“If your computer goes,” says Narrowe, “you’ve got a problem.” Adds piano student Mc Coy, “Mine did, and it was agony. She has an eclectic assortment of 2,800 tunes by about 150 different artists on her i Pod: “about 25 musicals,” the Beatles, Sinatra, Mozart, Gershwin, Coltrane, Hawaiian guitarist Keola Beamer, plus Coldplay and Outkast.