Steve Almond: Given that we’re going to have to spend the next nine months with each other, I’d like to make a few requests. Pictured: Boston College fans at an NCAA college football game in Boston, Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Dear College Student,

Hello! Welcome back! I know you’ve been back in town for a couple of weeks already, but I’ve only just now forced myself to face the reality that summer is over.

It’s not that I love summer so much. After all, my own young children don’t have school, which means they spend a lot of time jumping on my throat. But other than that, summers around here are really just … peaceful. Us sad old non-college-student-people do lots of boring things, such as gardening and hiking in the Fells and trying to find an area beach not littered with cigarette butts.

But inevitably, the temperature starts to drop and the moving vans converge and suddenly you guys are back. Happens every year.

Given that we’re going to have to spend the next nine months with each other, off and on, I’d like to make a few requests on behalf of my fellow full-time residents. Please consider them part of a broader effort to bring “town” into harmony with “gown.”

1. Please Don’t Drive. Anywhere.

I realize this sounds unreasonable, but let me break it down a little bit. First: chances are you live on a college campus, which provides for nearly all your material and social needs. Second: you live in a city with good, relatively cheap public transportation. Third: while you guys are (of course) young and immortal, the rest of us are not. We can be seriously injured or killed by another car, particularly if it is driven by someone with a shaky sense of Boston’s unique traffic patterns, and chemically impaired judgment.

2. Remember that Your Life Isn’t that Interesting

I know it seems interesting. Like, super interesting. But you have to believe me: it’s not. And I can tell you this because I’ve heard literally hundreds of your discussions, nearly all of which revolve around some mean thing Megan did to Ashley, or how drunk Matt got at the Pour House. And that’s really only interesting (and then just barely) if you know Megan and Ashley and Matt, which we don’t. So…

3. Maybe Bring the Volume Down a Little

Because whether you realize it or not, you guys talk super loud in public places. This is part of how you convince yourselves that you have interesting things to say, and also how you attract attention. And it may work in a college setting. But for the rest of us, it’s just histrionic noise pollution. Which brings us to this…

4. Put on More Clothing

To be blunt: much of the resentment aimed at you by bitter natives (such as myself) boils down to jealousy. You are young and vibrant. We are old and tired. So the least you can do when you head off-campus is to show some sartorial modesty. We don’t need the humiliation of seeing your bodies, or the temptation.

5. Deactivate Your iCrack

I keep mentioning the age difference between us because being from different generations these days is a lot like being from different planets. And while we do have smart phones and tablets and ear buds on Planet Old, we generally try to detach from them more than once an hour. Like: before bounding into a crosswalk, or smashing into someone with a grocery cart.

6. Try to Avoid Vomiting on Public Sidewalks

Not sure I need to expand on this, so let’s move on to my final plea.

7. Remember That Some of Us Have Jobs

This can be easy to overlook when the beer’s flowing and the stereo system is blaring and you’re trying to hook up with each other. But we really do. We have mean bosses and lousy dental plans and limited options, given the economy. And this means that we need to spend our nocturnal hours doing loser stuff like sleeping. I know this seems kind of pathetic from where you’re at, but this is how our lives function.

And believe it or not, someday your life will function this way, too. So please bear this in mind as you consider these entreaties.

Thanks for your, like, total consideration.

Steve Almond

Tags: Humor

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  • Richard Thorp

    8) DO NOT take the T. You all have college/university-provided transportation, use it so the full-time residents can commute to and from work without having you squeeze yourself into the 1 inch space available on the train/bus. In the alternate, you can WALK!

    • AMM-22

      That’s ridiculous. It’s PUBLIC transportation. The students pay taxes too and many of them live well beyond any campus shuttle. If you think the T is too crowded, talk to the MBTA.

      • Richard Thorp

        The students pay ONLY sales tax (and not even on food (on-campus). Time to back to class, Amy.

        • dz0

          “Time to back to class,” hahaha. I usually don’t pick on typos, but that was pretty great.

          • Richard Thorp

            Oops! Obviously I need another cup of coffee!

      • Richard Thorp

        Amy, TAXES DO NOT PAY FOR THE T!!!!! FARES are NOT taxes! Economics 101, dear.
        Students get a DISCOUNT on the T as well.

        • BostonB

          Students with local jobs in the city do pay taxes.

        • Kelly

          Tourists and day visitors also don’t pay taxes. No T for them?

        • bepis

          Only high school students receive the student discount.

          • ecam

            Actually, some college students do receive a discount, but that shouldn’t negate their right to public transportation. It sounds like the author of the original comment want college students to never leave their campus, because that’s of course totally practical and not at all insane.

        • Andrew Moran

          Discount? I’ll be sure to get back to you when the $30 student “discount” on my monthly commuter pass gets me anywhere decent in the future in terms of financial progress.

    • Kelly

      College students have every right to take the T. They are residents of Boston for 9 months of the year. Even though college transportation is an irrelevant point in this matter, I can assure you the institutions do not provide adequate transportation to reach the entire campuses. And do you expect the 100,000+ students to walk through the city in January when it is 10 degrees and snowing in Boston? If you do expect that, you need to re-evaluate your sense of reality.
      Are you going to tell Sports fans to stop taking the T on game days because it’s also too crowded for you?
      Talk to the MBTA if you feel there needs to be more cars. Or buy a car and drive.

      • Kelly

        And when I refer to the MBTA providing more cars, I obviously mean train cars on the tracks. Not automobiles. However, when I refer to you buying a car, that would be an automobile. If you don’t like the public transportation your city provides for you (and for all the other people either living in or visiting the beautiful city of Boston) find a private means of commute.

    • BostonStudent

      What are you referring to? Colleges and universities don’t foot the bill for transportation…at the most, they’ll provide shuttle service to the immediate areas around campus, but not the city. You are just plain incorrect.

  • Ariana Gunderson

    The petty agism expressed in this article is not actually attempting to improve relations between students and Boston locals. I would have expected more respectful discourse from this forum.

  • 9monkey

    Don’t be douchey!

  • Susan Stange

    I bring you good tidings from the Planet Old. Some of us began our Boston lives as students and 20+ years later seem to have forgotten our roots. Some of us moved here as young adults, and we all went to concerts, played our stereos too loud and drunkenly jumped on the way too early last train home on the T. Bostons largest employers are hospitals and colleges. Let us be mindful of that fact as we trip out on our geezer values

  • jefe68

    9. Please stop going out in public with your PJ’s (sweats) and Uggs.

  • AMM22

    You lose me with #4. How they dress is none of your business. That comment comes across as perverted and sexist.

    • BostonB

      You know, just to put it into perspective. The contractors at Emerson College sit on the wall at the common for break and lunch and watch all the little girls in their skimpy clothes and too short dresses hoping for a peek. How do I know this? My partner used to tell me about all those grease balls he worked with and what they’d say about em. Self respect goes a long way as a young woman!

      • Al

        These “grease balls” you speak of are the problem. It’s sad to see people defending inappropriate behavior from adult men instead of defending young girls. Perhaps if you had to understand what it means to grow up being told you should “cover yourself” in 90+ degree weather so that men won’t harass you or stare at you, you would have a better understanding of how backwards your statement is…

        • Bostonb

          My statement is not backwards, nor was I defending those adult men in any way. It was a statement of truth offering perspective to young women who wear thongs under see through dresses which barely cover their vagina. See where my statement of having self respect comes from? Young ladies these days put their bodies on display and think they will attract healthy, respectful attention. If they don’t respect themselves enough not to dress like a prostitute how are men supposed to View them as anything else?

      • ecam

        It’s funny that you use the term self-respect, a term that just means “respect for oneself”. In no way does wearing clothing that you yourself feel comfortable with violate that. In reality, the problem is not a lack of self-respect on the part of the young women, but a lack of respect from the men that you are defending. To reduce a woman to her appearance and make assumptions about a character based on said appearance stems from a lack of respect for her. Men who do this- and the men who defend them as unable to resist the “temptation”- fundamentally don’t respect women. We respect ourselves and our right to wear whatever we want just fine.

        • fun bobby

          of course you do, and men have a right to look

        • BostonB

          You know what’s funny? I am a woman. I was educated in the fine city of Boston. I was also raised to wear clothes that reflected the person I wished to be viewed as: smart, respected, educated, empowered. In no way does wearing a dress that barely covers your crotch and is see through to the point that areolas are visible embody any kind of self valuation.

          • dz0

            In other words, you were raised to internalize misogyny, and judge your self worth, and the worth of other women around you, based on their clothes.

          • CarlisleG

            Oh please. No one takes a woman seriously when she’s putting her body on full display at high noon. If they did, we wouldn’t have strip clubs and bartenders would have to show off their bodies for better tips.

            I respect a woman who respects herself and body enough to save it for the bedroom. THAT is a lady I would date, not just another girl I’d like to…well…you know. It’s a sad day when you can sit there and defend a woman who is more concerned with showing off her T&A hoping to become the next reality star of the moment rather than take HERSELF seriously and focus on a real education leading to a real career and healthy outlook on life.

            Whether or not this woman “internalized misogyny” or just has more common sense to save her body for her husband doesn’t mean she judges a woman’s worth in that way. My daughters will be raised to leave a little mystery

      • Tony D

        thirsty?…here have some hater-aide!
        Most men, teens, or older like to check out chicks and vice versa…its the way of the world, my use of the term chicks does not make me less educated, or less of human, and does not mean i do not respect women… Bottom line i was born and raised here in Boston, and it as usual this sounds like out of towners who have problems with out of towners, while ppl with deep roots here in there city, have an issue with you all….but fact is. its college, and there are cute girls , and screw up’s,everywhere, and they know, and are proud to be so. who are you to say, people cant make mistakes in theyre lives while lving in Boston? Guys check out girls, girls check out guys…..youre “partner” sounds about as uptight as you do. let the world be…. enjoy your 1st world problems…..when you move to mattapan, then i may be interested in your “problems”. until then, go back into hiding.

        • BostonB

          You can keep your beverage, Sir. Quite frankly, in don’t remember discussing my “first world” problems. I am educated, in the city you were born and raised in, so your care (or lack there of) for my words is a matter of your own free will.
          Your blurb of poor grammar sounds like a lot of resentment for “out of towners” but did you infer from my comment that I was indeed from out of town? Please stay in Mattapan sweet cheeks. Maybe hit Mass Bay for English 101.

    • Adam Rooshe

      Just because it isn’t being spoken doesn’t mean no one isn’t thinking it.

    • tuxedobob

      What makes you think he wasn’t talking to the men?

      Sexist much?

  • CAP1985


  • Dylan Sauerwald

    I am disappointed to read this- I think our culture has a real age-relations problem, with a deep mistrust of young people tending to encourage poor behavior on their part. We do, after all, expect these kinds of things from college students, and our society does a very poor job presenting any alternative vision of what is OK for a young person to be like in college. We should treat college students with more respect, and we might eventually enjoy more from them.

    • CAP1985

      This is pretty tongue-in-cheek, you know. Valid points for sure, but also a nice touch of humor.

      • Dylan Sauerwald

        I get that. But humor belies a point of view, and here it’s one I find problematic and unexamined.

        • CAP1985

          To each their own!

          • Heather

            While I agree with what you’re saying, Dylan, I think the other point is that it’s sometimes hard to remember or sympathize with everyone else in the community (read: us old people, and I’m only 24…) when you are at that age and immersed in the “college” part of the community. Many don’t understand or even stop to think about how their actions are affecting other people, and I think that is what this article is calling students to do. Some are blatantly tongue-in-cheek for the humor aspect of the article itself, but the message is all the same.

            Be considerate, that’s all.

  • ChevSm

    Wow, some people are taking this column way too seriously.

    Lighten up, this column is meant to be funny.

  • jamesdowd

    Now I’m going to go outside and yell at clouds…

  • MindGrapes

    rant: as a late twenty-something I find it just as annoying to hear 30-somethings (not sure the age of the author, but he still looks like a virile man in the photo) complain about the immature behavior of college kids from the standpoint of being so richly oak-aged and refined, or tired and old. you’re not that old! yes, college kids are annoyingly self involved and immature but you’re not 65 and you’re not going to get a broken hip from some kids’ grocery cart. this is a college town, and if you live in the vicinity of loud college aged housing, then move. interacting with younger, and for all intensive purposes lamer, people comes with living in this city and it’s nothing anyone can change (plus, i doubt a significant number of college kids will even read this aricle). I’m young, I still occasionally go out and party on weeknights, I don’t make a lot of money, and somehow I still live in a nice Boston neighborhood devoid of college kids. Don’t be such a grandpa, until you’re grandpa’s age.

    ps. #1 is spot on advice for the general public, but the rest is pontificated crap in my opinion.

    • Richard Hussong

      This geezer think you meant “for all intents and purposes”. Just sayin’.

      • MindGrapes

        thank you for that correction, just got a lesson in oral transformation of language.

    • sam

      He’s 47. Either the virility in the photo is an illusion or people beyond their 30’s aren’t obviously geriatric looking. Ageism goes both ways.

  • acs

    Like the author, I make certain to always take my earbuds out before smashing into someone with a grocery cart.

  • notworthmytime

    Steve Almond, you’re pretty pathetic. Maybe move to another neighborhood? Maybe, mind your own business? Point #3 is especially pathetic and ironic considering the self righteous nature of this post. Talk about being loud and uninteresting and to borrow your language histrionic: writing an ‘open letter’ on wbur’s blog about how you’re attracted to college girls and can’t get any… Creep off Steve. Is this your Job? I can’t believe you get paid. Those students work way harder than you do, and deserve more respect.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    This aggression will not stand…this aggression will not stand man

  • Al

    “We don’t need the humiliation of seeing your bodies, or the temptation.”
    Really NPR? So blatantly ridiculous… Apparently “temptation” is something that should fall on young people, not sexual predators… gross.

    • Guest

      Just because older men feel temptation doesn’t mean they’re sexual predators. It’s hypocritical to demand than men understand women’s feelings on this issue and not try to understand men’s. Temptation is natural for guys – it’s all around, it’s constant, and having women dress with less clothes doesn’t help. Giving into that temptation is wrong of course but this dude is just being honest about temptation. Not gross.

      • Al

        Clearly having sexual feelings towards someone is totally natural, obviously. For all sexes (not just “guys”). The definition of “temptation” (the author’s choice of wording) however assumes someone may be “inviting” attention. In other words, it implies anyone dressing a certain way “invites” inappropriate stares, comments and touching – which is dehumanizing, to say the least. Respectful men and women in a free, civil society keep their appendages and inappropriate comments to themselves unless consent is freely given. They show respect to their fellow humankind, regardless of gender. That was the point.

      • Gary A.

        Sounds like you totally missed his point, dude. It is pretty weird to say that other people have to dress a certain way bcuz others feel tempted or humiliated (writers words not mine). Sounds more like a problem for the person staring, not the person just trying to go about her day.

    • fun bobby

      I personally enjoy scantily clad young women. more power to them. maybe this guy should move to utah

  • sam

    I’d like to ask the school kids to take off their enormous back packs before getting on the t when it’s crowded. The young backpack wearers tend to be oblivious to all the people they hit with their bag while trying to navigate a crowded train.

    • fun bobby

      they are not nearly as bad as the older people with backpacks. im surprised they have not banned backpacks entirely in boston

    • Andrew Moran

      As a person with an unavoidably large backpack, where do you suggest we put them? On our heads? Because we certainly cannot put them at our feet; the older folks who feel entitled to personal space simply because they have their (incredibly fake and overly absorbed) seniority would look down upon you as you take up what could be another person’s standing room.

      We literally have no choice but to keep them on our backs or on our laps if we sit.

      • Ben

        You’re joking, right? You take your backpack off and put it at your feet. It’s common courtesy and basic spacial awareness. It’s like the #2 rule of the T, right after “stand to the side of the doors to let people off before trying to cram in” and right before “the left of the escalator is for walking, the right is for standing.”

      • Kevin Johnson

        Yes, you should take them off your back and hold them either with 2 hands in front of you or on the floor. It’s all about the sharing of space.

        When you keep the pack on your back you take up extra space than you would if you take it off.

        This only applies to when the T is full, it makes it easier to fit more people comfortably, and it makes you not an ass when you don’t slam your backpack into other people while trying to walk or move.

  • Marion Williams-Bennett

    Of course you can take the T, but if you do, can you move into the car and not stand next to the door? Welcome, and thank you!

  • Indignant College Student

    This was the most condescending and anger-inducing thing I’ve read in a really long time. Some of us college students have priorities that go beyond “beer flowing” and “hooking up with each other”. Most of us are trying to balance incredibly stimulating and new social situations with more schoolwork than we’ve ever been faced with. Not to mention that most of us have to work at least one job to make a measly dent in the most debt any generation of Americans has ever been faced with. Most of us have ambitions of becoming doctors, lawyers, future advocates for public rights, or pursuing knowledge for its own sake. It’s “boring” people like you, who don’t question their positions in their lives, who blindly follow the paths of their bosses and write condescending op-eds about the joys of complacency, that is the cause of our lack of self-respect. Why do you think we go out every weekend and get embarrassingly drunk? Why are we having promiscuous sex? Why are we being so damn loud?

    Because we know this is our last hurrah. We are absolutely terrified of the fact that in four or five years, we will become you. We know that one day we’ll wake up, realize we are forty, and remember the unbridled freedom that we experienced in college. We might as well take advantage of the time we have now.

    If you could give us a viable alternative to the grim future ahead, maybe we would change our behavior. Maybe we wouldn’t feel the need to vomit on sidewalks if we could look ahead to a future where our elders would respect our opinions and treat us as equals. But if our (unpaid) internships have taught us anything, it’s that such a future is unlikely. Patronizing attitudes like that which came from this author make us want to rebel against what is inevitably in store for us even more.

    And lastly, as a woman, I am incredibly put off by comment number four. Maybe you need to visit a college campus and hear the outcry within the college community regarding rape culture. Let me get this straight- women need to put on more clothing because we have something to be ashamed of? Or no, maybe I misunderstood you. We need to put on more clothing so men like you aren’t tempted… tempted to do what? Take advantage of us on the T? Rape us? What temptation are you talking about? It sounds like the “temptation” you describe is your problem, not ours.

    College students are the future of America, and if you want us to show you we respect you better start respecting us. Perpetuating stereotypes and putting yourself on a pedestal is only going to antagonize us. So maybe you need to get off your high horse and live a little. Re-examine the blandness of your life and take a lesson from us college students.

    • Richard Thorp

      But you ALL agree that that “Do Not Vomit on the Sidewalk” comment is ok. Why? Oh right, college students pay so much more in taxes than I do. Keep your damn comments to yourself. You don’t agree shut up and go home. There are A LOT more “obnoxious” comments in the original story than mine,

      • Richard is Creepy

        Richard, you shouldn’t have skipped high school english class.

      • Demosthenes

        Really? That’s the best you could provide in terms of a rebuttal? “If you disagree with me go home?” Also, I’m not even sure what you’re rebutting other than the general sense that everyone thinks your a backwards dolt? Do society a favor and please think before you speak, just try it, just to see how it feels.

        Props to our indignant college student friend. I’m not sure why cognoscenti decided to publish this backwards, sexist drivel, but more and more I’m turned off by WBUR’s entire ethos. I mean “MOLLY THE GREAT NEW SCOURGE OF SOCIETY” and now “COLLEGE STUDENTS, WHY THEY SUCK, AND WHY ITS NOT YOUR FAULT.” Please WBUR I’m not sure who you think your audience is, but you’re not doing them any favors publishing this misinformed, angry BS.

        And as someone who is both a resident of Boston, and not a college student I say fantastic. Bring more kids here please because maybe, just maybe, if enough of you brilliant people move here we can put an end to this ignorant self-righteous nonsense.

    • fun bobby

      just for the record I support your right to wear as little clothing as you feel comfortable with

    • rogger2

      He didn’t say WOMEN need to put on more clothing.
      He just said put on more clothing.

      • Momshell

        I’m pretty sure men are not being accused of wearing too little clothing. Tight pants? Yes. Lack of clothing? No.

        • Ciao99

          Actually the pants below the knees fad among the guys is pretty rude.

    • tbo

      Well I guess if you’re having promiscuous sex already, you might as well wear the uniform to go with it, huh?

  • TuSA23

    #8. WATCH THE FREAKIN’ WALK SIGNS!!!!! I work at a University and I have seen probably 25-30 kids in the last week almost get creamed by the T or a car. And it’s NOT the drivers fault. THEY have the green light. It’s the students who aren’t paying attention to the Red Hand telling them NOT to walk. Honestly, I’m surprised more kids aren’t hit and killed in this city.

  • Guest

    Isn’t WBUR a part of BU? Maybe they should be nicer to the students that help house and fund their station…

  • Shaboigan

    This bros name is Almond! and Steve for that matter… get out of town grumperstiltskin

  • PDoug

    I’m not even in college anymore, but I want to have a rave on this guy’s front lawn.

  • axonneuron

    This column is whimsical and an amusing lunchtime read. Some of the comments are hilarious. Lighten up, kids, and save your indignant commentary for things that actually matter.

  • fun bobby

    well steve is official, time to move to the suburbs where you can be old and unhip in peace.
    I bet this guy would have lost his mind if he went to carnival in cambridge last weekend

  • The Realist

    “Most of us have ambitions of becoming doctors, lawyers, future advocates
    for public rights, or pursuing knowledge for its own sake. It’s ‘boring’ people like you, who don’t question their positions in their
    lives, who blindly follow the paths of their bosses and write
    condescending op-eds about the joys of complacency, that is the cause of
    our lack of self-respect.”

    HA HA HA HA HAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAA!!! Check back in with us when you’re about 15-20 years into the real world, kiddo. Now time to scuttle off to your Model U.N. meeting! xoxo

    • blackmask/pvd

      Enjoy the crippling debt on that escape trajectory out of the rat race, kiddo.

  • Mango Momma

    As somebody who lives near a college campus, I would add “the world is not your trash can.” While one could assume that it is more than college students dumping empties along with condoms, clothing, shoes, etc., it does seem like more than a coincidence that the volume picks up once school is in session.

    I do find it entertaining to stroll on campus during my morning walks and watch the students attempt to walk and text at the same time. Lots of spills and tumbles and pedestrian to pedestrian crashes.

  • A college student

    This is gross. Thanks for the slut-shaming, WBUR! Glad to see my donation is going to fund such high-level, progressive thinking.

  • Emily

    This “I can’t control myself because she is wearing a short skirt” thinking is twisted and sexist. And, unfortunately, so pervasive that WBUR thinks that it makes a funny joke. Girls are tramps who dress just to arouse me! Ha ha!!

  • axonneuron

    Lighten up, folks. It’s a humorous opinion piece with some grains of truth. Learn not to take yourselves so seriously.

    • YesMan11

      Humor? We’ll be the judge of that!

      • axonneuron

        That’s how it was meant.

  • Ryan

    NPR please don’t fall into the uninteresting, unthoughtful, and all around bad habit of publishing list articles. They are so bad.

    While I think this article is kind of lame and doesn’t really say anything new, I agree with the thing about college kids being too loud. I’m a senior at northeastern and I swear when more than 5 college kids get together all the sudden everyone has to shout.

    • axonneuron

      To be heard above each other, perhaps.

  • Karen

    Response to your “plea”:
    1)That is completely insensitive. You have tolearn how to drive in it sometime. Also have you tried public transportation? If I can do it so can you. Keep
    the planet a little less polluted.
    2)Did you know yours is not very interesting either? I’m sure no one walked up to you and decided to tell you any stories like that, so learn to tune things out and stay out of others conversations.
    3) Some people are naturally loud, does not mean they are all college students.
    4) First of all that is none of your concern. Second, you sound like a pervert with the “temptation” part of your comment – so keep that to yourself next time.
    5) Yes some people do need to put down their technology a little more often. However, that is not just college students doing those things. Keep up with the times.
    6) Yes that is disgusting, but really who says that just college students. Also sometimes, people are just sick and vomiting cannot be avoided.
    7) The majority of college students have jobs as well. Actually most college students work part time or full time while attending college full time (which is like a second job). So excuse them for trying to blow off a little steam when they are not working.

    A college student who does not do any of the stereotypes you
    “plea” suggests I do.

    • blackmask/pvd

      You must be an English major. All the Foucault you’ve been reading is really shining through in this analytical breakdown and response, khed.

      • Karen

        Actually my undergraduate work was in the Sciences. My Master’s work is in Higher Education Student Affairs

        • axonneuron

          Social work, then.

  • Wagofthefinger


  • Almond Quotes

    Steve, I feel like you’re just trying to make “a healthy profit by peddling paranoia, mostly to angry old white people.”

    (why write something new when you can just quote the author’s critique of another media outlet–fox–and have it apply perfectly to his next story..?)

  • Caroline

    Seriously? I never thought of NPR as the type of media source to publish such rude content. This is hardly “thinking that matters.” Almost everything written in this article, like telling anyone how to dress, assuming their always drunk, and implying that someone shouldn’t discuss their life with friends because it doesn’t happen to interest you, is offensive and at times just plain mean. NPR should remove this article, ask Steve Almond for an apology, or at the very least provide a space for a college kids perspective. I highly doubt NPR would publish an article making broad and offensive generalizations about any other minority, so why is ok to do it about college kids?

  • AlecDawesome

    this is bs. when the gate is locked thats when all the fun begins. rules what r rules, when it comes to intoxication rules r out the window….

  • will

    Most of you seem to be missing the point of the letter. Yes, you can find anybody who would be taken aback by any of the suggestions; again, not the point if considered with a light heart (rare in Boston, I know). Almond is simply suggesting that the massive population increase during this time of year is often composed of people who see Boston as a venue for one or more of these “unsavory” things. And to some degree it’s true. A great deal of college students around Boston don’t care about anything here: when they graduate, they’ll go home and leave all their junk behind (e.g. Allston Christmas). Honestly, I see this letter as an attempt by Almond to commiserate with us “townies,” and to maybe even -DARE I SAY IT- say hello to strangers.

  • Emily

    I dislike being kept awake by the loud, college students who live next store just as much as the next guy. This letter, though? It’s cranky, obnoxious, and incredibly self-focused. You seem to have forgotten what is just so great about be 19 or 21 or however many years old. Why is a student’s clothing choices any of your business? Or her conversations? College is a fabulously unique time in a person’s life when a lot of the normal social conventions are thrown out the window and no one’s experience should be stifled by your lame and uptight expectations. Lighten up a little, would you? You’d probably be a whole lot happier living in this great city if you did.

  • Seniorita Rantista

    Rant, rant, ranty, rant, rant!!!
    Self-righteous indignation!

  • Selkiechick

    I’d move 6 and 7 to 1 and 2. I recognize that not all college students are offenders (and dislike messy sidewalks and late night noise as much as the rest of us do) but almost all the partiers (at least in my part of town) are students.

  • Noah Potash

    For a supposedly humorous piece, this article sounds like a high school principal trying to be “hip.”

  • Reek

    Oh great, another edgy journalist who hates millennials. Wow, I’m so shocked. Thanks NPR

    This article (can you call it that) to me, proves how intolerant the “native” Boston community can be and how unhealthy the relationship with students has progressed.

    In addition to this piece mostly being filled with buzzwords, overused anecdotes, and in general, blind angered stupidity. The writer clearly forgets to mention one big thing

    Do you know how much money us “stupid drunk college kids” give to this city? From having to commute to Allston to going out to eat dinner and shop,to pretty much have a presence in every facet of this city, students are one of the only reasons that this city isn’t the dumphole that it used to be when my parents went here in the 80s.

    In the end, deal with it bro. That’s not to say that we can’t be obnoxious and I’m not saying you do not reserve the right to be annoyed or upset, but your reasoning behind why your so upset is pretty angry entitled white guy.

    Let us have the chance to be young and have fun with our lives before we become old and angry enough to write about how much we hate kids these days.

  • Catherine Chang

    1. I supported local economy by buying two cars and servicing them at ridiculous prices. And also oil companies. 2. My college years were the most exciting time mentally. 3. For the rent we pay, I am sure the landlords are happy to put up with little noise (btw I was always at a lab) 4. Even college kids who are not buffed and lean are jealous, too. FYI why don’t you go to Backbay, I am jealous of Backbay residents and Emerson college hipsters. 5. People got to be familiar with current trend and technology to be a good employer. I never bumped into any who is plugged in. 6. Again we are supporting local bars and victims of Liquor industry’s incessant message that young people should be drinking to have fun. Also we again are supporting many liquor companies with our parents hard eared money. Or we will be paying money to the bank for the loan so no worries here. 7. Trust us, we will join (if the economy cooperates you in your jobs. This is the only time we can hangout at night.


  • mmoran313

    Steve, have you ever heard of the concept of “moving to the nuisance”? It’s a legal doctrine that says you have no legal right to complain when you move near something that existed long before you arrive. There have been 11 colleges in Boston since long before you were born. Today’s students are not any more outlandish than they were 10, 30 and 50 years ago. If you find them so offensive, you don’t belong in Boston; move to Florida, which will be much more to your liking. You remind me of Billy Crystal in this scene, but he was being funny. What’s your excuse?

  • DDB

    I was born and raised in the city of Boston and also attended undergrad in the Boston area (Tufts). Yes, it can be annoying when September rolls around and the city suddenly gets far more crowded, BUT people tend to forget that they CHOSE to live in this city. Boston is a college town. It will be particularly crowded from September-June. If that is a major issue for you, then you should perhaps move to a suburb or a different city. I have to say that the majority of people that I hear complaining about college students are in fact not native Bostonians. Those people who have grown up here are fully aware of the deal. Granted, years ago many of the area colleges were primarily made up of commuters, but this student invasion isn’t new. A lot of our area colleges bring a lot of great opportunities to our neighborhoods, so let’s stop complaining!

  • Jacob F

    This is hilarious…Boston drivers are some of the worst people I have ever seen behind the wheel. I’d trust a stoned college kid any day over some geezer from the bean/

  • Chris

    Get off your high horse. This “job” you speak of clearly isn’t paying you enough.

  • Eagle Man

    An Open Letter to Steve Almond and other Boston-Area Full Time Residents

    Dear Permanent Resident of the fine City of Boston,

    Hello! Long time no see! I know we’ve been back in town for a couple of
    weeks already, and we’re sorry we haven’t popped in sooner to say hello after our intense summer doing volunteer work at — oh, wait, sorry, didn’t mean to bore you with that, we almost forgot you preferred it if we remained silent so you can focus on calming your screaming children on the T.

    It’s not that we didn’t miss you and the rest of Boston, after all it’s where we’ve chosen to make our primary homes for four years, which means we’re just as interested on keeping this city thriving as everyone else is. But, sometimes we just need a break from the classes, and the responsibilities, and the social pressures, and the…. yes, heavy drinking. Us 18-22 year old college students just aren’t as prepared for the real world and all of the cool things you can do with independence as you are.

    But inevitably, we’re going to have to be and a few thousand of us are forced to move in full-time with you lot or find cheaper rent somewhere else (Hi Mom!). Happens every year.

    Given that you’re going to have to spend the rest of your life in Boston dealing with the fact that we come and go EVERY YEAR and have been since at least the 17th century, I’d like to make a few requests on behalf of my fellow students. Please consider them part of a broader effort to bring the “life we breathe into this city’s economy” into harmony with “your social preferences”.

    1. Please Don’t Drive. Anywhere.

    I realize this sounds unreasonable, but let me break it down a little
    bit. First: chances are you learned how to drive in the state of Massachusets, which has some of the lowest rankings for driver intelligence (of driving laws) and road safety. Second: you live in a city with good, relatively cheep public transportation. Third: while you of course are the exception to the rule when it comes to Boston drivers, chances are… you’re not. We can
    be seriously injured or killed by another car just walking from one section of campus to another using designated pedestrian areas (although we could do better about not jay walking, sure).

    2. Remember that you Don’t Have to Listen to Our Conversations

    I know our conversations seem boring. Like, super boring. But you
    have to believe us: they are. And I can tell you this because I’ve been apart of at least half of those conversations. But am I going to tell you to stop talking on the phone to your significant other about getting new shower curtains? Hell no. It’s a public space, say whatever you want, if you want to talk to your kid about the virtues of honesty, great! If you want to tell the rest of the T about the time you got abducted by aliens? EVEN BETTER. If I’m not interested, I won’t listen to you. There are these nifty things they provide with every iCrack called headphones, great trick for keeping the super interesting conversations about Becky out of your head.

    3. Maybe Be More Courteous When Dealing With Us In Regards To Noise Complaints.

    Because whether you realize it or not, we talk super loud in
    public places. This is part of how we convince ourselves that we have
    interesting things to say, and also how we attract attention. Because unless you don’t remember yourself between the ages of 18-22, getting attention from others seems kind of important. This isn’t to deny fault, or say that us students don’t have a tenancy to be loud in public especially between the hours of 10-3 on days of the week that end with the word “-day”. But you’ll have to forgive us, we’re only testosterone/estrogen filled adolescent humans, and may be wearing a unique set of goggles when you hear our voices coming down your street. But instead of immediately calling the cops, talk to us first why don’t ya? I’ll wager that 7/10 times we’ll clear out and quiet down when you ask, no harm no foul. And if we don’t when ask nicely? Then it’s probably better a cop takes us home anyway because we may be in the wrong neighborhood and are too drunk to remmeber how to get back.

    4. Please stop Ogling us

    To be blunt: much of the resentment aimed at you by bitter college students
    (such as myself) boils down to a thin layer of creepiness. You are old and sober. We are young and drunk. So the least you can do when you see us in public spaces or walking down the street is show some restraint. We don’t need the eyes of 50+ year old men staring longingly at a group of innocent girls headed to the bars to meet up with some friends. Nor do we need a group of 30 year old business professionals staring down a 20 year old group of guys who may have said “bro” one too many times while wearing their Marathon Monday tank. We clearly live in different realms, but are required to share the same space, please don’t hate us for going through our early twenties and learning new things about ourselves. You had your turn, now please stop staring at my girlfriend’s breasts in front of me. No I don’t care if you’re a published writer.

    5. Stop Being Hypocritical About Your Own Technology Use

    I keep mentioning the age difference between us because being from
    different generations these days is a lot like being from different
    planets. And while we do have a tendency to detach from reality sometimes on Planet Young, we generally try our best to pay attention. Could we do better? Sure, but so could you. Like: not driving while using that newfangled iCrack your kids got you for Christmas, and… well everything else you included in your letter to us you are all just as guilty of. Let’s ALL try and make a conscious effort instead, eh?

    6. Try to Avoid Judging Kids Vomiting on Public Sidewalks

    You never know, that sick kid could be the next leader of this free nation.

    7. Remember That Some of Us Have Don’t Fit Into Your Narrow Definition of a College Student

    This can be easy to overlook when the beer’s flowing and the stereo
    system is blaring and you’re watching some dude’s feeble attempt to get a girl to “come back to my room to see my giant stuffed panda that I swear is real”. But crazy as it sounds, that doomed freshman does not speak for the majority of us who take our education very seriously and do not spend our every waking moment attempting to destroy the city that you spend three more months out of the year here living in than we do. In fact we often times put far more back into this city than we take away. We also have mean bosses and limited options given the economy (Health Care is generally OK for us, Thanks again Mom/Dad!), and heck you already have a job, at this point we’ll be lucky to have one when we leave! That’s why the overwhelming majority of us do in fact take our studies seriously and work so hard. But as a result of that and the societal pressures already placed upon us from multiple different sources, we get stressed out! And this means that we need to spend out nocturnal hours doing annoying things like going to neighborhood bars and attending social events in various apartments and houses. I know this seems kind of pathetic from where you’re at, but this is how our lives function.

    And we are completely aware that this fantasy world between having responsibilities and not having responsibilities will end. But as soon as we leave there will be others to take our place. And that cycle isn’t going to end any time soon. So please bear this in mind as you consider these entreaties.

    Thank You for your total consideration sirs and madams,

    The Man Behind The Eagle’s Mask In the Picture Used to Represent the Recklessness of College Students in Your Letter Originally Penned to Us

    • axonneuron

      #4: yeah….,.good luck with that.

  • Did you even go to college bro

    ” “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” – Martin Luther King Jr. ” – A college student

  • Joe Gadsby

    as someone who lives near boston and cares about language and writing in general. you are an ass. and basically useless to all of the driving problems in boston, i am 32. so really you need to stfu. whoever wrote this article is basically saying the old “kids get off my lawn”
    and to that i say “suck my 32 year old balls bitch”

  • TuSA23

    The irony here of course is that the same college students on here crying about how unfair this article is will, in a few years, be thinking the same thing as the author.

  • Frannie Carr

    Hi all — This area is meant to be a place for discussion and debate. While we encourage you to engage one another and our writers, please keep the tone of your comment(s) civil. Our general policy is to remove comments that contain swears, threats or abusive language. Here’s a link to more info about our community discussion guidelines.
    All Best, Frannie, editor/producer of Cog

  • Cayenne

    STAY OFF THE TRAIN TRACKS. The drivers of said 140 TON trains, or trolleys, cannot stop them instantly. Its a fact. Ask your physics professor.

  • tim
  • BCstudent

    The picture you featured in your article criticizing college students, includes students being spirited at a football game. On our campus, at our stadium. I know because I sat three rows back. Next time, you want to criticize harmless BC students at a game as party-centric frat boys, pick another picture. They were being spirited for ESPN not partying for your op-ed piece to voice your disgust over the 300,000 plus college students living and allowing Boston to thrive.

    • axonneuron

      “300,000 plus college students living and allowing Boston to thrive.”
      I think the financial, tech, defense and healthcare related employers in the area have something to do with the thriving.

  • Oliver

    I’m 21, went to 15 countries over a year’s period and learned two languages–I’m a college student and find that interesting…

  • K

    When I was a college student in Boston (over 20 yrs ago), I lived in an off-campus apartment in the midst of Northeastern, Berkeley, etc., and also had to work full time. I did not drink and was fairly low key. My dress ranged from the conservative to punk to grunge to skimpy. I resented older residents for being considered “part of the problem” and fellow college goers for causing problems. However, I understood that I lived in a college town and some of the issues could be chalked up to experimentation, youthful folly, and plain old entitlement (in which case, blame the parents!).

    Experimentation in dress is normal, especially if you are young. Especially if you were like me and forced to wear a school uniform for several years, and was too poor to have decent clothes, and was gradually unlearning the body-image shame embedded since childhood. Making blanket judgments about a woman’s morality, sexual promiscuity, or interest in being objectified or violated based on their appearance is simply wrong.

    To suggest that college kids not ride the T is ludicrous. Their fares constitute not a small portion of T income, I’m sure. Tourists can be just as annoying… should they be barred as well? I have seen several adults leave their backpacks on their back in a rush-hour train. If you are going to complain about noise pollution, you better not leave out those pesky teenagers who depend upon the T for their school commutes. Really, don’t single out the college kids when you know very well that most T riders are offensive for one reason or another.

    Vomit. How many people in their mid-to-late 20s, 30s, even 40s do I know who have a problem with alcohol? Plenty. They also vomit. Binge drinking does not stop after college.

    If the mods don’t want to see abusive reader comments, perhaps WBUR should re-think the articles they publish. This article was troll bait.

  • S Solomon

    This is truly obnoxious nonsense–even more so if you listen to this self-righteous jerk recite it on the air with his pretentious sense of entitlement.

  • M Billings

    The best part was this morning’s radio broadcast where Almond asked people who may be offended by his tired and condescending version of the annual, student rant/whine to “chill out.” This appeal coming from someone asking college students not to drive or talk loudly on cell phones.

  • phoe2003

    “We don’t need the humiliation of seeing your bodies, or the temptation.”

    Jeez, quite a self-conscious author we have here.

  • townie1952

    I confess that I was an obnoxious, inconsiderate teen/young adult.
    I accept that it is now payback time.
    Students, be immature now, and get it out of your system, too many in previous generations never did.


    If/when you show up in the Emergency Room drunk/intoxicated/vomiting/partially dressed/assaulted, please don’t tell everyone your mother/father/brother/cousin is a lawyer and you’re going to sue us for keeping you from inflicting any more damage on yourself and/or those around you. We’ve heard it all before and it’s foolishness. Put your spinning little head down and wait for sunrise when we’ll happily discharge you and collect thousands of well-earned dollars as you’re all nicely insured.

  • Jemimah Stambaugh

    Hahahaha! I love that so many of the kids–as in children–who answered trying to berate and supply what they think is an intelligent and grownup defense, simply managed to bring up more of the things that make them so obnoxious and hard to stomach. They’d have fared so much better if they’d just let reflection rather than reaction be their guides and had a good chuckle at their own expense like the rest of us did. Thing is, we’ve been there, ya’ll and you haven’t. Don’t you have homework to do?