As if to mark the start of a fresh school year, on September 20, 2017, Globe and Mail journalist, Margaret Wente released an opinion piece. In which she cries for Canadian Universities to “ stop treating university students like fragile flowers”.
In it she argues that back in her day students were given no compensation for the mental and cognitive obstacles they faced so why should you?
Instead of counselling or extended test hours, students today just need to ‘smoke a joint’ or ‘ eat a jelly donut’ to get rid of those pre exam nerves. Afterall it worked for her, so it’ll definitely work for you too.
Obviously the claims from Ms. Wente are ridiculous as she calls for the destruction of generations of progression because she equates it with babying.
She speaks of therapeutic options like therapy dogs and extensions as if they were something to be ashamed of. Though she mentions the growing academic pressures and increasing competition for employment, it seems as if she could not be farther from understanding them.
If you are or wish to become a university student then great! And don’t worry, Wente made sure to say she doesn’t mean to offend anyone seriously struggling with mental/ cognitive disorders. However, if you a current or to be university student and suffer from said disorders maybe take a few steps back as Wente ponders whether you really belong there.
All this leads to the question of how relevant is mental illness to Canadian youth? Is it an epidemic or a fad? And if the former, how much should we have to do about it?
It should be noted that in Wente’s s piece she quoted professor Bruce Pardy if Queen’s University, who agrees that this aid has just gone too far. While it can sometimes be helpful to reach for the opinion of a professor, in a case surrounding student life and wellbeing it can’t hurt to hear from some actual university students. Let’s start there.