Growing Up: Then And Now


Back then, they would pay people to go to university!

That is how people tend to describe university life 15-30 years ago which leads me to the question, was it easier to grow up back then or now?

The immediate answer would be it is easier now of course! I mean back then there were no computers, internet or mobiles and life was hard. If you are a teenager or a young adult, you have probably heard your parents tell you on numerous occasions about how easy you have it. However, when I talk about growing up, I want to focus on higher education.

So did those who wanted to study in the 70s-80s have it easier despite there being less universities or do students in today’s age have it easier?

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14 thoughts on “Growing Up: Then And Now

  1. In a lot of ways it was harder. No internet or computers (as we know them today) meant you had to get books from the library, and if somebody else had got there first, you were stuffed. Everything was hand written, so if you mucked up an essay, you had to rewrite it from the start. I’m only talking about A levels. I didn’t want to go to uni, I got an apprenticeship instead as a reporter on a paper, and that was brilliant. Nowadays, I don’t think you could get a job on a paper without a degree.

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    • Hmm in terms of computers and libraries at A level, I’ve found that we still depend on textbooks and handwritten work far more than would be expected in this ‘modern age,’ primarily because exams are still handwritten.
      Of course, certain subjects rely far more on the technological advancements that have occured.
      That really is brilliant! Certainly, one of the things I felt when doing work experience at a newspaper was I wished there was some sort of programme to enter journalism without having to go through university.

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  2. I guess “having it easy” depends on the quality too.
    As in, there were less universities then, which although doesn’t necessarily mean that the quality was less, but even now there’s always something new happening so..well, ah where is my point here? Yes. Eh. Quality. Something along those lines. 😀
    I’ll let you decipher that, my friend.

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  3. I think it was easier to go to post secondary back in our parents generation. The tuition was much lower and from what I gathered most people still lived at home. (although I may be wrong) Now school seems to be much more financially draining. My mom paid $500 in tuition and I pay quadruple that for a single semester. Added to the mix there are expensive laptops that didn’t exist then and other fancy equipment that’s required. I had to purchase a DSLR camera as well. It may be easier to type documents and research online but the amount of work and difficulty level seems to have increased. I was learning things in grade 10 that my parents hadn’t learned until second year in university.

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    • I think so too which is why students today are more bitter about the high cost of education as those who have increased its price had to pay nothing at all when they were studying!
      True, the work and difficulty level certainly has increased and will continue to.

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  4. I don’t know if we had it easier growing up in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Each generation has their tough times. I never had the opportunity to go to college. No one in my family did. My husband’s family was the same. College has always cost a lot of money. Sure much more money now, but it was never free (in the US at least), and only certain people were encouraged by family and guidance counselors to pursue higher education. Only one of my family actually went to University and graduated. She did that as an adult and Army helped pay for it. I think today’s students are expected to continue their education. That it is imperative that they do so. But that’s because our computers and cell phones have nearly eliminated the jobs us ‘uneducated’ people used to hold. The only jobs for those less fortunate to be offered schooling are working in fast food and coffee houses. Without an education today, our children are practically unemployable. In my opinion, this is a bad thing. Now we have intelligent, well educated students starting out their lives with large debt and a sense of entitlement to a good, well paying job.

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    • You make a great point. Whilst it was tough to go to university previously, it was not necessary in order to go on to ‘succeed’ in life whereas in today’s age, those who don’t go on to higher education are seen as failures which means we live in an extremely harsh world.
      It’s true, if I have paid so much for university then I expect to be able to recoup that expense through a great job. Of course, that does not always become a reality.

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      • Every generation has it’s own unique sets of free passes and difficulties. I am familiar with school before computers, and I know school with computers. Without computers there was time to process information and learn, but you didn’t learn as much, but you learned deeply. Today you learn a lot, but with less time and not as deeply. When I say “deeply” I mean, the time for your brain to wrap around concepts or ideas and embed them in your memory. You are correct when you mention the struggles of typewriters- Nightmare. However, today, the amount of time, temptation to cut and paste other work, saving, sending, updating and the amount of tools to available to learn a subject- overwhelming.
        Cost of school- there were affordable options back in the day, today . . . you might have to donate blood. 😉
        Where do ideas of success or failure come from? A question we all should all ask, not just accept blindly. Who writes those ideas into culture so many follow and build personal identity and lives around. Can those ideas, including attending college become a financial resource for someone else? Sadly, the majority of the world functions on a very narrow, and very prescribed definition of what, who or where someone or something can be “successful”. The very notion that something has to be this or that, good or bad, is worth asking, a few have.

        Enjoy the ramble. I blame the computer. 🙂

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      • That’s true. We do tend to try and learn so much in school but most of the time in ends up being just to pass the exam.
        Certainly, we do need to question ideas of success.
        Haha 😀 well thanks for your comment 🙂

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  5. I absolutely loved reading all these comments because they brought back so many memories of slaving away in our college library, being the first person in my family to graduate from college, having a state loan to pay for it, not finding a book in the library that I needed, typing paper after paper after paper, sharing dorm rooms, eating at a sit down dinner each nigh, etc. When I spent my last year as a teacher in 3rd grade, I encouraged students to do research on our computers, introduced the concept of an encyclopedia to students to use for research, used a smart board for interactive phonics games, etc. Oh what a difference 40 years in education makes!

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    • Technology certainly has changed education although not always for the better!
      I think students still tend to slave away at the library and type paper after paper as well as having difficulties with paying their fees. (I know I certainly will!)
      The fact you were the first in your family to graduate must have been intense with all the pressure and questions. Personally, I am of the first generation in my family to go to university.
      It’s difficult but seems it always has been!

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