Opinion: In Defense of Boston-Area College Students

Dear Steve Almond,

Given that we are going to be spending the next nine months together, I don’t want to form a passive aggressive relationship. I think in order to get along we need honest and open communication.  So, I need to address your article on Boston-area college students.

I think that you were completely unjustified in your assessment of college-aged students. I understand the desire to write somewhat of a facetious article, but honestly you attacked the wrong crowd. Boston is THE college city. You know what you sign up for when you live here.

I’d like to address some of your points now.

1. The driving plea is unrealistic

I understand that I live on a college campus. Personally, I’m fine with using public transportation to acquire anything I need that my campus cannot provide for me. Although, Steve, everyone does not live on a campus. Off campus students need a car to get to class. The future nurses of America need a car in order to get their clinical hours. The aspiring teachers need a car to get to their student teaching jobs. Sure, they could take the T for an hour instead of a fifteen minute drive, but the nursing and education students are pressed for time enough as it is. Are you really looking to make life harder for them? Are you really looking to inhibit the efforts of aspiring nurses and teachers, essential people in our society?

Sure, Boston roads are confusing and hard to manage at first. I guess no one new should ever move to Boston then. That way, there will never be any new drivers on the road. In fact, no young people should even learn to drive anymore. Driving should die out with you and your generation.

2. Remember that we never claimed to be interesting

I understand that the current Megan-Ashley feud is ridiculous. Like seriously, she just has to get over it already. We never claimed, though, that 60 Minutes should do a piece on the complex and dynamic Megan-Ashley relationship. We’re not writing novels about it nor are we even tweeting about it…that much. However, we do have lives. We talk to our friends about what is going on in those lives. Sometimes it’s trivial. Get over it.

3. I speak loudly out of necessity

I apologize if we can be a little loud sometimes, I’m sure it isn’t pleasant. We aren’t loud because we think our thoughts need to be shared with the world. We’re just a little obnoxious sometimes.

Do you know what else was obnoxious and disturbing though?

Your next point.

4. We’ll wear whatever we want to wear

I apologize if I’m making hetero-normative assumptions, but stop checking out college-age girls. It’s sexist to claim that women who dress scantily are doing so to tempt you. I could justify that it’s hot some days and they just don’t want to wear as many layers, but I don’t have to. Women have a right to dress however they want, wherever they want. Maybe you shouldn't be such a pervert and assume that they dress that way to “tempt” a middle-aged man. Get real brah.

I also apologize if my sweet triceps make you jealous. Those bad boys are pretty impressive and I love to show them off in a nice tank. Maybe if you replaced some of that hatorade that you've been drinking with a protein shake then you’d be a little less envious.

5. The iCrack

I’ll give you this one Steve, we are dependent on technology. We’re digital natives and our smartphones have become extensions of our physical body. It must be frustrating for you to watch us effortlessly use our “iCrack” while you’re probably still figuring out how to download Candy Crush.

6. The Vomit Thing

Honestly, people don’t need to drink to the point where they vomit. It’s gross. Young people make mistakes and then grow and mature from them. Have you never made a mistake, Steve Almond?

7. Remember that we are only in college once

We hope that our lives will not function like yours one day. You seem to resent your kids and you write for an NPR blog. Is that even a real job?

We have dreams that we hope to fulfill and pursue. College students hope to make a difference in the world. We do realize, though, that when we enter the real world many of our aspirations may go unfulfilled and be stuck in the 9 to 5 grind.

So we’re going to be loud, going to have fun, and maybe even going to hook up at a time in our lives when we still can. I’m not ashamed of it and it’s something that you are just going to have to live with.

You live in Boston and you’re criticizing college students? Are you a madman Steve Almond? There are over 300,000 college students in the greater Boston area. We aren't changing or going away anytime soon. This is our city.

Con amor,

Tim Coogan

P.S. Your featured image is a picture of BC students being spirited at an on campus football game. They did not venture off campus and act like that and they in no way affected you, Steve Almond. You attacked innocent  BC students who were just having a good time on the campus environment and negatively portrayed them as fratty, party-centric losers. Next time you mess with college students, make sure they’re not Eagles.


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Tim Coogan