Apocalyptic Boredom

Mein Kampus

Neoliberalism sucks the brains out of a generation.

Doug and Mike Starn / Take Off Your Skin, It Ain't No Sin, 2007

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A cultural shift is happening on university campuses across North America. Students are lining up for mental health services faster than they can be treated. This shift is defining a generation and marks a profound change in the mental environment on campuses today. There was a time not so long ago when students used to reach out for help with a particular life crisis: a broken relationship, the death of a loved one, difficulty with a major decision. Today, however, students are complaining that their life is the crisis, an all-pervasive sense of bleakness about themselves and their future that didn’t exist a generation ago. This transition from the incidental to the total is nothing short of a socialized paradigm shift, one that has transformed higher learning from a space of exploration and freedom to a prison of the mind. Fueled by stress, anxiety, pressure and competition, many of today’s students are struggling not only to learn but also to survive.

Dr. Erika Horwitz, associate director of health counseling services at one of Canada’s largest undergraduate universities, Simon Fraser, said the hypercompetitive environment at universities where students are pitted against each other in a perceived zero-sum game for fewer and fewer jobs, is pushing a generation of youth to the edge.

“The current ideologies of success and beauty are unprecedented … students are coming in at increasing rates, saying they can’t cope.”

The upward trend of psycho trauma on North American campuses is documented each year in the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors Annual Survey. Their results are alarming. More than two-thirds of student health centers say they don’t have enough resources and counselors to deal with the growing numbers of clients. Thirty-four percent of centers have ongoing waitlists. The number one reason for visits is anxiety, at 40 percent, followed closely by depression at 38 percent. On top of this, dual diagnosis is rapidly rising with most students coming in with deadly mixes of anxiety, depression, body image disparities and suicidal thoughts. And all directors agree that the numbers are going up.

These results indicate what happens when the dominant economic ideology of the age, neoliberalism, creeps into the mentality of science and arts. The campus isn’t a place to study Heidegger anymore. Nor is it a place to query the relative nature of the Bohr atom. It is a place to get a leg up on the competition, and competition is fierce. This is a place to cheat when you can, to choose easy courses with easy professors, to trade learning for sycophancy, to deliberately ask one question per class, regardless of interest, for that extra participation grade and to escape into private and isolated worlds when the curve determines only 20 percent are allowed to get that coveted A. In a generation, the message has changed. This is not a place to find your self anymore; this is not a cultural rite of passage; this is a cultural requirement. From students’ first application signature to the day they toss their cap and gown, the new message is clear: a four-year BA will not be enough; one foul grade could ruin your chances at graduate school and consequently your life. This message is snuffing out our brightest minds.

Darren Fleet

78 comments on the article “Mein Kampus”

Displaying 31 - 40 of 78

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Anonymous

The government's just giving you bunk loans, they're not telling you what to think, at least at private school.

Anonymous

The government's just giving you bunk loans, they're not telling you what to think, at least at private school.

Anonymous

Americans point the finger of blame in all directions! none are right one! China, Asia for that matter, continues to economically out-strip the "value". or "Real Wealth", produced by American workers, and America's Uber Class, 'investors' continue to reduce workers from, as the former U.S.S.R. would have termed it, from proletariat, goods producing worker class with steady jobs, respect, homes, stable income, to precariat, part-time, occasional semi-slaves often with two jobs at least, per family unit, just to survive, no rights, no medical coverage, inadequate diet, and living in Third World circumstances. America's "Coca-Cola Corpocracy' has even gone further, reducing precariat to a new status, only found in America. Disenfranchised workers, great strong men and women, accustom to laborer's high calorie diets, mild mannered law-abiding, willing to work long hours in almost abusive conditions, even mind-numbing situations,accustomed to producing "Real Wealth", in fact, bred for this, now on the "unemployables" lines, without adequate food, without medical coverage, without even decent housing, without basic transportation,and producing nothing of value, no "Real Wealth", as their "means of production" owned by the Capitalists has been exported, along with patents, production technologies, methodologies, proprietary secrets,even factory floor plans, and in some cases the very machinery right off the factory floors, to Asia.
The Middle Class in America, the upcoming educated class, find they have no infrastructure ready to employ them! It is now in Asia, and they will, in the next decades join their confreres in the "unemployables" lines, in a nation once manufacturer to the world, now, dividend collectors to Asian progress! Even the mighty, "All American" Ford Motor Company of the U.S.A. has devoted $350 million U.S. to a "Transmission Plant", to provide transmissions for all Ford products, world-wide, in China!(Google this, don't take my word) Question: Is this a "Pilot Plant"? Are Ford's shareholders testing Asian waters? Are Ford's shareholders initiating new stakeholders, off-shore, Asian stakeholders? Will Ford really need educated Americans on its new Asian stakeholder staffs? Can American-educated students expect to compete with Asians, dollar for dollar, even down to a reduced lifestyle, in America? not Goddammit likely! You educate for nothing in America! No body in the rest of the world can accept your mediocre, 9 to 5, 4 day week, performances for the high wages you demand, and will require, to live in America, to live the Coca-Cola Corpocracies great propagandized,"American Dream", to live in McMansions, to drive SUV's or even smaller private gasoline guzzling cars on ridiculously long daily "commutes". Asian electric bullet trains do away with this nonsense.Asian bullet-train infrastructures remove this, Asian LFTR and Thorium fueled CANDU reactors, (Google this- don't trust me)all plutonium free, all with little, benign waste products, all, high efficiency systems, do away with the need for OPEC, parasites and their very carcinogenic, high benzine molecule containing oil products.
America in the midst of suffering a paradigm shift historic in nature!American education puts the propagandist's blinkers on realities of the rest of the world so well, few educated Americans escape to realize the truth! Ask now: Where are all the Oldsmobile's Studebaker's, Packard's, Pontiac's Hudson's,Desoto's/ Why did they not evolve into modern cars, like the Honda, Hyundai, Subaru, Toyota? Where was the "disconnect" that leaves American students without a future, without a strong laboring class to serve, with their fine education? Sorrowful, America, sorrowful!

Anonymous

Americans point the finger of blame in all directions! none are right one! China, Asia for that matter, continues to economically out-strip the "value". or "Real Wealth", produced by American workers, and America's Uber Class, 'investors' continue to reduce workers from, as the former U.S.S.R. would have termed it, from proletariat, goods producing worker class with steady jobs, respect, homes, stable income, to precariat, part-time, occasional semi-slaves often with two jobs at least, per family unit, just to survive, no rights, no medical coverage, inadequate diet, and living in Third World circumstances. America's "Coca-Cola Corpocracy' has even gone further, reducing precariat to a new status, only found in America. Disenfranchised workers, great strong men and women, accustom to laborer's high calorie diets, mild mannered law-abiding, willing to work long hours in almost abusive conditions, even mind-numbing situations,accustomed to producing "Real Wealth", in fact, bred for this, now on the "unemployables" lines, without adequate food, without medical coverage, without even decent housing, without basic transportation,and producing nothing of value, no "Real Wealth", as their "means of production" owned by the Capitalists has been exported, along with patents, production technologies, methodologies, proprietary secrets,even factory floor plans, and in some cases the very machinery right off the factory floors, to Asia.
The Middle Class in America, the upcoming educated class, find they have no infrastructure ready to employ them! It is now in Asia, and they will, in the next decades join their confreres in the "unemployables" lines, in a nation once manufacturer to the world, now, dividend collectors to Asian progress! Even the mighty, "All American" Ford Motor Company of the U.S.A. has devoted $350 million U.S. to a "Transmission Plant", to provide transmissions for all Ford products, world-wide, in China!(Google this, don't take my word) Question: Is this a "Pilot Plant"? Are Ford's shareholders testing Asian waters? Are Ford's shareholders initiating new stakeholders, off-shore, Asian stakeholders? Will Ford really need educated Americans on its new Asian stakeholder staffs? Can American-educated students expect to compete with Asians, dollar for dollar, even down to a reduced lifestyle, in America? not Goddammit likely! You educate for nothing in America! No body in the rest of the world can accept your mediocre, 9 to 5, 4 day week, performances for the high wages you demand, and will require, to live in America, to live the Coca-Cola Corpocracies great propagandized,"American Dream", to live in McMansions, to drive SUV's or even smaller private gasoline guzzling cars on ridiculously long daily "commutes". Asian electric bullet trains do away with this nonsense.Asian bullet-train infrastructures remove this, Asian LFTR and Thorium fueled CANDU reactors, (Google this- don't trust me)all plutonium free, all with little, benign waste products, all, high efficiency systems, do away with the need for OPEC, parasites and their very carcinogenic, high benzine molecule containing oil products.
America in the midst of suffering a paradigm shift historic in nature!American education puts the propagandist's blinkers on realities of the rest of the world so well, few educated Americans escape to realize the truth! Ask now: Where are all the Oldsmobile's Studebaker's, Packard's, Pontiac's Hudson's,Desoto's/ Why did they not evolve into modern cars, like the Honda, Hyundai, Subaru, Toyota? Where was the "disconnect" that leaves American students without a future, without a strong laboring class to serve, with their fine education? Sorrowful, America, sorrowful!

Anonymous

Neo Liberalism on the individual level is every man (woman) for themselves, set free in a unregulated market to turn whatever resources they have to hand into pure "success" - read money and status.

When you are a student, your immediate resources are your looks and your intelligence. So in a culture where "success" is measured in those terms of course young people are freaking out. their futures are cut out for them, be the best or be nothing.

We have allowed this by celebrating everything that is bigger, stronger, faster.

If we do not reimagine a world where people are valued for more than status then we are all doomed to depression and anxiety as NO-ONE will ever measure up to the the ideals we are sold.

Anonymous

Neo Liberalism on the individual level is every man (woman) for themselves, set free in a unregulated market to turn whatever resources they have to hand into pure "success" - read money and status.

When you are a student, your immediate resources are your looks and your intelligence. So in a culture where "success" is measured in those terms of course young people are freaking out. their futures are cut out for them, be the best or be nothing.

We have allowed this by celebrating everything that is bigger, stronger, faster.

If we do not reimagine a world where people are valued for more than status then we are all doomed to depression and anxiety as NO-ONE will ever measure up to the the ideals we are sold.

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