The lifestyle of any college student can be difficult to conceptualize in its entirety. From cursing at your alarm clock for not allowing you to attain more than five hours of sleep, to trying to find the perfect time to cuddle up next to the remote controller, college is often a tug of war game between what students need and what students want.
There are constant forces in play that are guiding students in their decision making processes. So with a tip of the hat to Dante Alighieri and his Divine Comedy, here are the seven sins that seem to capture college students into a web of marionette strings and manipulate them like dolls throughout their four years.
The obsession with personal gratification or pleasure, that doesn’t necessarily need to be sexual, is lust. The football player that you can’t seem to take your eyes off of as you see him sprint off to the locker room or the sorority girl whose triad of letters glistens in the sunlight as she prances to class.
Every person has desired a fellow classmate because some aspect catches their eyes more than any other. Whether it is a simple hook-up or an urge to embark in a committed relationship, students lust for attention.
According to Dr. Gary Lewandowski, Chair of the Psychology Department, a sociological study using the General Social Survey comparing hook-up rates among today’s students with students from a decade ago found that both groups reported similar rates of hooking up. He said that 31.9 percent of students from 1988 – 1996 reported having more than one sexual partner in the past year, differing only by 0.3 percent today. Regardless of the decade, this excessive sexual appetite for the campus cutie seems intoxicating.
The mean, green, jealous machine. Envy is having an unusually obsessive fascination with another individual to the point of developing a strong jealousy towards them.
This underlying competition is best exemplified by the growing use of social media. Trying to get more “likes” on a picture to appear more desirable or attempting to one-up your roommate who consistently receives more notifications or retweets than you. Students are consumed by social media, and seem to be engaged in a competition of presenting themselves better than the rest.
Dr. David Strohmetz, professor of psychology, believes social media can affect the way students perceive others. He said, “Through social media we can purposely design the types of information we want others to learn about ourselves to shape their impressions.”
Robert Robinson, a senior communication major, said, “Social media has a huge influence on our lives every single day. With that comes great envy … Whether it’s posting a picture of a new car [a friend] got or a status about money, you’re jealously is around us all the time.” Instead of getting jealous of a friend, embrace your own, unique individuality. Your lucidity will thank you later.
The tendency to want more than you actually need is greed at its core. Wealth, power and sex are just a few of these symbolic desires.
The person that strives for the ‘A’ but doesn’t necessarily work for it is guilty of greed and seems to be bound by the sin’s shackles.
Specialist professor of communication, Mary Harris, shakes her head at students who exert no real effort into assignments and fall victim to the easiness of such practices. She said, “Students who participate in plagiarizing or cheating lack respect for themselves and their own potential. It is a shame that some students choose to partake in this behavior, but luckily, it is not something that I’ve encountered much.”
Extreme laziness. Slothful students sleep for most of the day, and then lounge around for the remainder, lacking any motivation to do anything. Students are lazy. It is as if sloth has become a vital characteristic of a college student’s identity at one point or another.
A student that stays up until 4 am to complete a homework assignment that you had a few weeks to complete, but instead chose to use that time to catch up on the latest episodes of “The Walking Dead” is a prime candidate and should probably run for President of Sloth-ville.
Kristen Tullo, a junior biochemistry major, admits to feeling drained as a result of her overbearing workload but avoids procrastinating. She said, “I think the majority of students do tend to procrastinate, however, because it is very stressful [in addition to them] trying to enjoy their time at college without having something that they are working on at all hours of the day.”
Students that procrastinate and sloppily hand in assignments and/or fail to hand in assignments on time, suffer the consequences. Harris said, “Teaching students the importance of deadlines is something they will encounter during their careers, so college is good practice for building time management skills.”
Get out of your cocoon of blankets, crack open your textbook, and show the sloth monster that you can’t be tamed anymore.
Wrath is the uncontrolled hatred for someone or something, and the desire to seek revenge. A person that is wrathful is so consumed by this emotion that revenge is the only real solution to manage this anger.
A wrathful student is one that challenges grades that they deem to be “unfair” and takes this to the office of the Dean. In order to seek revenge on professors, students will evaluate their professors at the end of the semester and score them harsher than they themselves have been scored on their own assignments. Oh, how the tables have turned.
But the revenge doesn’t stop there. Students will go on to RateMyProfessor.com and construct horrible reviews, which can tarnish a professor’s reputation and detract students from ever wanting to enroll in a class with him/her.
Absorbing or depleting an object until nothing is left. Two words: meal plan. Somewhere in between local on-the-go food businesses to the burritos in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center (RSSC), our idea of “moderation” is thrown out of the window. This habit then follows you to your late night 2 am drunken food runs to McDonalds to indulge in the consumption of $1 Big Macs or fat sandwiches from Nelly’s.
According to Suanne Schaad, Substance Awareness Coordinator, alcohol is a carbohydrate that turns into sugar in the body. The more alcohol you drink, the more blood sugar levels rise. In an effort to combat this increase, the body releases insulin to lower these levels. Schaad explains the reason for late-night munchies, “As the night of partying comes to an end, and the drinking has stopped, the body sends out hunger pangs to alert you to eat more and raise your blood sugar levels back to normal range.”
Students fall under the spell of gluttony when entering the party scene. Schaad added, “Once we rely on the substance to get through a social situation it becomes a different story and it can be a warning sign there is a problem.” These negative coping skills can lead to problems of addiction.
Students can battle with excessive alcohol addiction. Put the red Solo cup down, throw away your late-night delivery menus, and start the new glutton-free diet. The Papa John’s delivery service should no longer know your name and exact order for every Saturday night.
The over-exaggeration of one’s abilities or accomplishments is pride. This over confidence can lead to inflated egos, which causes students to consider themselves far more important and superior to the rest of their classmates.
Students have learned about it in their basic literature classes, with examples of Macbeth and King Oedipus sharing the tragic flaws of being prideful, students are warned of the negative effects associated with excessive admiration of the personal self.
Robinson, a student athlete, notices some students involved in organizations such as Greek life or athletics to be exhibiting too much pride, especially on social media. He said, “Everyone is aware that being a part of [an organization] is a privilege and something special; however, some people… talk and show-off a lot.” Robinson believes individuals are prideful in an attempt to provoke others to want to join or perhaps simply to stir up jealousy.
Some people overly enjoy flaunting their sins. It is one thing to have pride in yourself and your work, but it is another to rub those achievements into the remains of your peer’s suffering self-confidence.
An Ethical Guide
Some students fail to understand the seven deadly sins are still relevant today, especially in the context of college. Father Tomlinson of the Catholic Center said, “… Human nature is basically the same as it was when the sins were first described. We still face the same challenges and make the same mistakes.”
In order to achieve pure human happiness, one must act moderately according to reason.
Just remember, these sins are deadly for a reason, and if not carefully controlled, will turn into lonely nights with the cat, resentment and a beer gut that even Jillian Michaels can’t fix post-graduation.