A study released this week by the University of California, San Diego has concluded that although most incoming freshmen believe college is time to turn over a new leaf, they are a group exactly as depressed and directionless as they were in high school. “Our research clearly demonstrates that no amount of soul searching is going to help these kids. There is literally no version of themselves that they will like,” says lead researcher Dr. Steven Schwann.
This news comes at a time when most incoming students still have hope that temporarily “experimenting” with their hair or sexuality to gain “cool points” before inevitably switching back to their original selves will heal the self-loathing that they cultivated through hours of comparing themselves to each other on the Internet. The 376 subjects for the study were chosen during June orientation and were asked to give a thorough history of their high school selves, as well as a prediction of their college years. Then, they were unknowingly trailed around campus through Week 3 of the school year by grad students, who recorded their observations and compared them to the hopes and dreams recorded in June. Schwann says that the results can be described as “unsurprising” and “pretty sad.”
For example, 89 percent of participants stated that college would be a “romantic windfall,” regardless of their track record in high school. By the time the study ended, only seven percent were in any stage of courtship with a person of interest.
During the study, Schwann and associates also noted that the 2017 incoming freshman class spent an average of 3.4 hours per day preparing social media posts to convince their high school colleagues that they are doing so much better now that they are striking it out on their own in the real world, also observing a strong direct relationship between insecurity and social media presence, particularly on Snapchat. “Going through the social media posts for the study was probably the most challenging part of the study for us, patience-wise,” remarked Schwann. “Each one of those posts represents a decision by an individual to share his or her own mediocre experience with everyone they know. These numbers were especially high on days such as Meet the Beach and Fall Y’all.”
Based on the data as a whole, Dr. Schwann extrapolates that the freshman ambition for reinvention will begin to peter out towards the end of the first quarter, saying, “my advice for all first years would be: if you weren’t interesting and hip before college, don’t expect that to change. Better to just give up and settle for who you are from the get-go.”