For many, life at Clemson is one long adventure, embodying the Clemson spirit of which we are all so proud. For many others, however, it is not so much a never-ending experience of joy as a succession of nightmarish pressures. What can be done?
Much of the anxiety relates to the difficulties some students have with finances. What can be done right now to make the lives of the less well-off a tad easier? Since this is a student newspaper, one of the first suggestions is aimed at students.
Those of us who do not have to worry about fees and expenses can make life more bearable for those who have to hold down jobs by not sneering at them. The honorable approach is to respect the sacrifice these students are making to be a part of the Clemson spirit. There should be no class divisions at Clemson, only a love of diversity.
The overwhelming response of so-called experts to student stress is to recommend they take the time to consult academic support services. But, for most students, time is a commodity that is already in short supply. Surely, the much better, long-term solution is to reform the structure of college education itself. Perhaps by allowing students the opportunity to opt for five or six-year degrees fully funded by financial aid?
Some students are able to negotiate, through Student Accessibility Services, specific accommodations for their academics. However, these accommodations suffer from one major drawback: instructors are not permitted any discretion in implementing such accommodations. Reform is needed to give instructors all the discretion they require.
The pressure on students comes not only from learning. One of the side issues of releasing teenagers and millennials into a newly-free, unstructured environment is that peer pressure, sexual pressure and racial pressure are all off-the-wall. Co-ed dorms, where each two-person room is the size of a closet, offer no sanctuary. If you’re suffering from any kind of peer pressure, sexual pressure or racial pressure, there is essentially nowhere to hide.
Clemson provides counseling services but not enough. Currently, there is a two-month waiting list for counseling. Clemson has a reporting process in place to allow reports to be made about those deemed at risk. The hope is that this will prevent serious incidents. However, again most likely due to lack of funding, there are suggestions that the reporting process is so insensitive as to be positively counter-productive.
$400 million of the $800 million Clemson spends on its operating budget comes from student fees. With so much investment in the operations of Clemson, students deserve counseling and care services that are properly funded and operated in a manner that is geared towards those doing the needing, not for the convenience of those doing the providing.
We have much to feel proud about with Clemson. Wouldn’t it be nice if that pride extended to all those attending Clemson and was truly felt by all students?