Wong Goes to College

July 22, 2010

My son and I went to his college orientation yesterday. I graduated from Haverford College in 1982. Things have changed. In my plea for doctors to embrace the Internet, I’d like to share some of my observations to underscore where this generation spends most of their time.

My son and I went to his college orientation yesterday. I graduated from Haverford College in 1982 (flashback: I rented an IBM Selectric with an auto correcting feature for really important papers, I had no cell phone or PC). Things have changed.

In my plea for doctors to embrace the Internet, I’d like to share some of my observations to underscore where this generation spends most of their time.

1. We’ve been to this college before, yet we still needed directions. We used the GPS system on his smartphone (no comments, please).

2. Air conditioning is available only for students with medical conditions; however, every room on campus has a broadband connection, yet wifi is available only in the academic buildings.

3. The college communicates with their students via e-mail. Every student is given an e-mail address of the college, yet “most college students today don’t use e-mail anymore.” They referenced text messaging and Facebook as the most popular methods of communication between students.

4. Every administrative function (bills, grades, loan disbursement, meal plan changes, etc.) is handled through a secure portal online. Professors post assignments, notes, etc. online, too.

5. Laptops are available for free at the library (per three-hour session), i.e. free access. (The price of a laptop with wireless capability is now less than $300 at your local store, i.e. they are affordable.) Lost/misplaced/borrowed computers can be found by looking for the computer’s MAC address (a kind of personal ID for each computer).

6. Computer labs abound boasting PCs and Macs. Several are open 24/7. There is a computer center to help you diagnose any problems you are having with your computer, that is, there is free access and support.

7. During the parent orientation we met several members of the administration, head of security, head of resident’s life and the head of the IT (information technology) department.

8. I used my iPhone to take a few pictures and sent them to my wife.

9. The library has copy machines...but they aren’t used much anymore.

The school gives each student a credit of $25 for printing. Use of the scanners, however, is free (hence the decreased utilization of copy machines). Nowadays the kids scan instead of copying. The images can be stored on a central storage (see below) or flash drive.

By the way, each student is allotted space on the “share drive.” Share drive space is given to each student and is hard disk storage space hosted by the school. It is backed up during the day and allows the students to store their work, pics, music, etc. at a central location for access from any computer.

10. When your washing machine/dryer is finished...an e-mail is sent. Hmm, remember observation #3?

What does this mean? Obviously, the kids of today are expected to be fluent in a variety of new technologies. This school, also in an effort to become “green,” expects every student, and their families, to be computer literate.

Moreover, each and every observation above is based on the Internet and requires online connectivity.

My point is that this generation is dependent upon the Internet for every facet of their life; eating, cleaning, socializing, etc.

Just where do you think they’ll search for good health information? Where are they going to look for a doctor?