“At Harvard, we see a lot of people who have checked all the boxes, done all the worksheets, and then they get to college and they’re really adrift, because they don’t have the social and emotional skills,” Erika Christakis, wife of a Harvard professor who also works as a housemaster at the elite school, told The Atlantic.
Children of “helicopter parents” are used to having their parents reminding them of exams, making sure they finish their homework and setting their well-balanced breakfasts in front of them in the morning.
Consequently, it’s not surprising that, once at Harvard, students used to this sort of a lifestyle would have trouble adapting to independent college life.
Christakis relates the story of an e-mail her husband received from a student explaining why he was “oblivious” about the date of a midterm exam and two reading assignments:
I attended lecture yesterday and found out that we had an exam due for the course last week. Until the lecture mentioned it yesterday, I was oblivious to the fact that we had an exam due! My attempt to notify you of this yesterday didn’t pan out. Upon my subsequent reinspection of the syllabus, I also noticed that there were two reading assignments due before the midterm. Those, too, I didn’t know were due at any particular time.
I am completely astonished about these revelations and not sure how this happened. I’m also surprised you didn’t notify me earlier of my failure to complete these assignments. What do you suggest that we do?
This goes to show that a Harvard education doesn’t mean what it used to.