The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
Hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances — a home of this caliber sounds like a recipe for suburban bliss, two kids and a minivan.
However, if you are an upperclassman at Miami, chances are your off-campus apartment features one or more of these amenities. Not to mention the residence halls, which are one by one being remodeled to resemble luxury hotels.
For decades, the archetype of the “broke college student” has reigned: a 20-something who runs on two hours of sleep and four cups of bad coffee, who shares a dingy dorm room with more people than fit comfortably inside, and who never lets these circumstances get them down, because they are too excited simply to be living on their own.
But gone are the college days of our parents’ generations, when students lined up in the hallway for their chance to use the dorm’s only payphone. College kids no longer file to the dining hall, wondering what dinner might be that night. Nowadays, instead of spending our class time doodling in notebooks, we spend it on our laptops shopping for shoes online, a sign of both the technological advances of the times and the cultural shift of what it means to be a college student.
Though many of us do have jobs and pay for our tuition, books and bills, the emblematic idea of the broke college kid is fading into just that — an idea, nothing more. College is no longer a time to make do with what you have, but rather to expect that things be bigger, better, nicer and higher-quality than ever before.
For example, Miami is now focusing on creating menus that are more fitting of a five-star restaurant than a college campus. At Western Dining Commons, students can custom-order crepes, elaborately filled with Nutella and sprinkled to perfection with powdered sugar. Encounter, the burger joint at Maplestreet Station, grills up 1/3 pound beef patties that are locally sourced and antibiotic-free. Mystery meat has been swapped with quinoa and kale. Ramen has been replaced with risotto.
This attitude extends to the social scene as well: weekends are spent treating ourselves to $80 dresses at posh boutiques Uptown because we “don’t have anything to wear.”
We go out multiple nights a week and buy round after round of drinks (preferably while sitting in a grubby booth, listening to the bartender’s iPod at CJ’s if we really feel like getting in touch with our inner, grungy-chic broke college student). For those of us who are more money-conscious, it can be hard to find things to do that are both socially acceptable and budget-friendly.
While we appreciate these luxuries, we can’t help but wonder if they are setting us up for failure later in life. What is this system of instant gratification teaching us? Why do we need to have the nicest clothes, state-of-the-art housing and organic food options? And in striving for these fleeting ideals, are we missing out on learning larger lessons, like how to budget, save money or read our credit scores?
Many of us would gladly give up the sparkly chandeliers and gourmet food if it meant tuition rates would drop. But when it comes down to it, we don’t have a choice.
College is a business, and the market is competitive. Administrations, donors and marketing departments push for the newest advancements, so that their school can earn the coveted title of being the “best.” So we might as well enjoy what’s offered while we can, and keep in mind that this won’t last forever. College is supposed to prepare us for the “real world,” so it’s important to remember that this glamorous life might not be our reality after graduation.
And though our college years might differ from those of our parents, this is still a special time. We are still fostering friendships, learning new skills, creating our own unique memories. And it is those experiences — not all the unnecessary bells and whistles — that make us love Miami.