The other day when we were walking under the autumn leaves, across campus north to south from Franklin Street to the Dean Dome to watch a basketball game, I told David for the 100th time, “I love working at a university. I think it is because I just wish I could be in school forever.” It is true that I love just being on a university campus. I often wish I could go back as an undergraduate and study so many different things. And yet, I also echo the words of Maurice Chevalier in Gigi. I am so glad that I am not young anymore. As we were passing undergrads on that same walk I also remember disdainfully whispering to David statements like, “I am so glad I was a college student in the era before texting. It would have ruined college for me,” and “I am so glad that it was only in my last year of law school that all classrooms on campus had wireless access and almost no one had cell phones.”
Sometimes, I look at this new generation of college students, the kids that wear running shorts to class, and think, is there no respect anymore? Because yeah, I am a fat old curmudgeon.
But in particular, I am so glad I went to BYU when I did. I don’t think I could stomach the advent of new technology and the effect it has had on BYU campus. For example, do you know they no longer publish the Daily Universe daily? It is now weekly and that is crap. Granted, I never supported those BYU students that referred to the Daily Universe as “the paper”, because I had a student subscription to the New York Times to make me feel better than everyone else, but the Daily Universe had its place. Tuesday and Thursday were important days to get the Universe because of the letters to the editor. It was important to see what students were ranting about on campus. For me, it was also important to have a place to rant so I could get hate email from other members of the student body. Thankfully for posterity, my ranting on the BYU football team, my reaction to some moron who complained about “reverse discrimination” at BYU law school, my political grievances with Utah’s elected officials, my advice on being involved in local elections, and my hatred of diamond engagement rings, are preserved electronically via the internet. But sadly, today’s BYU students are not getting the same experience with letters to the editor published so frequently.
A Mormon blog that I read sometimes drew my attention to a new phenomenon on the BYU campus, a Facebook page called, “BYU Crushes”. Now look, although I had many rants and seething hatred for the popular BYU social scene in my day, I have lots of experience in having crushes at BYU. In fact, I would call myself far more experienced than most BYU students in that regard. Unlike most people, I had the distinct fortune of having nearly all of my crushes unrequited and all failed to work out. Most people at BYU have a crush or two on someone, end up dating one of them for a few weeks, and then married that person. If you had as many crushes fail as I did, you have much more experience with these things. So I am going to call this Facebook group out. This is sheer laziness. You call that a crush, posting something anonymously to a social website? OOOH! So much thought and risk in that, I sarcastically mutter. That’s not figuring out the class schedule of the person that you have a crush on and detouring all the way across campus in between your own classes to orchestrate a seemingly spontaneous, random run-in with your crush. Nope. That’s not printing out the copy of an ee cummings poem and leaving it on the windshield of your crush’s car at 2 am, or even worse, writing your own poetry and leaving it. That’s not even buying a box of Godiva chocolates with a mix CD attached and leaving it on your crush’s doorstep. Nope. My goodness, that is depressing. So yes, I am glad that I attended college before Facebook when you really had to commit to humiliation if you were going to claim to have a crush on someone. That is good for character, because after a while, you realize that rejection no longer says anything about you as a person (except that other people don’t like you).
Also add to the list, I am grateful that I went to college in an era before the “selfie”, because I would find it absolutely insufferable to be at a party or anywhere people find themselves constantly mugging it up for their camera phones. I am glad that when I was in college, cameras had film, and film is expensive for a college student, so you didn’t take a picture of something unless it was a really big deal. None of this, “I look so HAWT today so I must document this!”
So what I am saying is this, I love working on a university campus. I love the idea of going back and taking classes all over again, but as for the other stuff associated with being a college student, no thank you. I barely had the social skills to function in the era that I went to college, I most certainly would not be able to function in today’s technology-mediated social scene. I am a dinosaur.