2 full pagesFor The New York Times Opinion article, “The Real Campus Scourge”(capus.pdf), identity the structure of Bruni’s argument, including the use of claims, support (which could include grounds and/or backing), and warrants. You may also consider modal qualifiers and rebuttals if applicable. Also analyze the effectiveness of the structure (components) of Bruni’s argument, considering rhetorical appeals to ethos, pathos, and/or logos. You could organize your response with the first paragraph identifying the structure (components) of Bruni’s argument, and the second paragraph analyzing the effectiveness of the structure of Bruni’s argument.
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The Real Campus Scourge
By Frank Bruni
Sept. 2, 2017
The New York Times
Across the country, college freshmen are settling into their new lives and grappling with
something that doesn’t compete with protests and political correctness for the media’s
attention, something that no one prepared them for, something that has nothing to do with
being “snowflakes” and everything to do with being human.
In a sea of people, they find themselves adrift. The technology that keeps them connected to
parents and high school friends only reminds them of their physical separation from just about
everyone they know best. That estrangement can be a gateway to binge drinking and other selfdestructive behavior. And it’s as likely to derail their ambitions as almost anything else.
Brett Epstein felt it. “I spent my first night in the dorm and it hit me like a pile of bricks: It’s just
me here,” Epstein, a 21-year-old senior at the College of Charleston, told me about his start there
three years ago. “I was completely freaked out.”
Clara Nguyen felt it, too. “It’s a lot more difficult to make friends than people make it out to be,”
Nguyen, a 19-year-old sophomore at U.C.L.A., told me about her experience last year. “I didn’t
know how to be someone new while at the same time being who I always was.”
The problem sounds so ordinary, so obvious: People in an unfamiliar location confront
dislocation. On their own two legs for the first time, they’re wobbly. Who would expect otherwise?
Well, most of them did, because college isn’t sold to teenagers as just any place or passage. It’s a
gaudily painted promise. The time of their lives! The disparity between myth and reality stuns
many of them, and various facets of youth today — from social media to a secondary-school
narrative that frames admission to college as the end of all worry — worsen the impact.
Harry Rockland-Miller, who just retired as the director for the Center for Counseling and
Psychological Health at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, told me the emblematic story
of a freshman he treated:
“He was 18. He came to school and was invited to a party his first weekend, and he didn’t know
anybody. So he started to drink. He drank way too much and ended up lying on a bench in his
residential hall, feeling very sick. Nobody stopped and said, ‘How are you doing? Are you O.K.?’
And he felt so isolated. When he came in to speak with me the next day, the thing that struck him
— what he said — was, ‘There I was, alone, with all these people around.’ ”
Alone, with all these people around. In a survey of nearly 28,000 students on 51 campuses by
the American College Health Associationlast year, more than 60 percent said that they had “felt
very lonely” in the previous 12 months. Nearly 30 percent said that they had felt that way in the
previous two weeks.
Victor Schwartz, the medical director of the Jed Foundation, which is one of the nation’s leading
advocacy groups for the mental health of teenagers and young adults, said that those findings
were consistent with his own observation of college students today. “While they expected that
academics and finances would be sources of stress,” he told me, “many students were lonely and
thought this was sort of unique to them, because no one talked about it.”
Their peers in fact do something that mine couldn’t back in the 1980s, when I attended college:
use Facebook and Instagram to perform pantomimes of uninterrupted fun and unalloyed
fabulousness. And these “highly curated selves,” as the U.C.L.A. psychologist Elizabeth GongGuy called them, “amplify the fact that you’re sitting in your residence hall alone.”
Gong-Guy runs her university’s Campus and Student Resilienceprogram, which helps students
with emotional struggles and exemplifies many schools’ intensifying efforts to address loneliness,
among other mental health issues.
Extended, elaborate freshmen orientation schedules are another intended prophylactic against
loneliness, which is a common reason for dropping out. And as Lawrence Biemiller recently noted
in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, there’s even a push to place and design
freshmen dormitories so that solitary time is minimized and interaction maximized.
Three new residence halls at Goucher College, one of which opened last fall and two of which are
nearing completion, typify this trend. Goucher’s president, José Antonio Bowen, said that the
center-of-hall situation of bathrooms, the glass walls of laundry rooms and even the speed of the
wireless connection in common areas — much faster than in the rooms — are deliberate
pushbacks against forces that can isolate students.
“Students are arriving on college campuses with all of their high school friends on their phones,”
Bowen told me, referring to the technological quirks of today. They too easily substitute virtual
interactions for physical ones, withdrawing from their immediate circumstances and winding up
lonely as a result.
That’s why the solution isn’t hourly messages from concerned moms and dads, whose stubborn
attentiveness, no matter how well meant, can leave their children psychologically frail. Mental
health experts and college administrators recommend a more thoughtful organization of campus
life and more candid conversations about the tricky transition to college.
Nguyen, the U.C.L.A. sophomore, said that in her Vietnamese-American family in Southern
California, all the talk was of doing well enough in high school to get to college and not about the
challenges college itself might present. Epstein, the College of Charleston senior, said that his
popularity in high school in the suburbs of New York City perhaps distracted him from any
awareness that “I was going 700 miles away and being dropped in a place of 10,000 people and
wasn’t going to know anybody.” What followed, he added, was “a long battlewith anxiety and
One of the narrators of Tom Perrotta’s superb new novel, “Mrs. Fletcher,” is a former high school
lacrosse star who arrives on campus “after all the endless buildup” and develops a “queasy
feeling” that his world has become at once more populous and a whole lot colder. “There I was,
people-watching and eating my omelet,” he says of one morning in the dining hall, “and the next
thing I knew my throat swelled up. And then my eyes started to water.”
We urge new college students not to party too hard. We warn them of weight gain (“the freshman
15”). We also need to tell them that what’s often behind all that drinking and eating isn’t
celebration but sadness, which is normal, survivable and shared by many of the people around
them, no matter how sunny their faces or their Facebook posts.
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