College Kids Prefer Praise to Sex, Booze, or Money


Young folks! They’re so irrepressible! So full of joie de vivre! So damn young! So young, in fact, that a recent study seems to indicate that they actually prefer praise to the more cynical adult pleasures of sex, booze, or money. Yes, we could hardly believe it ourselves, but according to researchers at Ohio State University, college students love SELF-ESTEEM more than they love anything else. What is the world coming to?

The researchers undertook two separate studies of 282 students, gauging the subjects’ desires to do a number of things, from having sex to boozing to getting paid, eating a favorite food, or hanging with a BFF. Intriguingly, students “favored experiences that boosted self-esteem, such as receiving a good grade or a compliment.”

Self-esteem, of course, is kind of a buzzword nowadays, with kids not just deserving of it but actually being “socialized” to expect it, whether it’s actually from themselves or others.

As sociologist Bill Corsaro said to USA Today,

“Kids from a very early age are being socialized to do well — to be hard workers. It creates this sense of entitlement. So achieving and being praised for that achievement is what’s most important in their view in terms of themselves.”

Which all seems well and good and certainly achievement-oriented. But, kids, sometimes the greatest success of all is simply finishing that second bottle of wine. Of course, soon after graduation, you’ll learn that first hand. In the meantime: Awesome job on that keg stand!

[via USA Today]

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 12, 2011

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