Navigating Novel Uncertainties
In the future, students will need additional guidelines, or frameworks, to help them deal with novel situations. This need is amplified by the change in student demography: there are an increasing number of older students, first-generation students (the first in their family to attend college) as well as immigrant students. None of them fit the category of the traditional college student and therefore, some extra orientation might be needed.
One area in which the need for frameworks is anticipated is social interaction and participating in the student community. Others will arise due to technological development–for instance, how to navigate the relationship between virtual and physical worlds, how much time ought to be spent in each as well as how both of these worlds should be protected.
Another area in which students will really need guidance is performance enhancements for the brain. In a world in which competition is increasingly intense, there is already a trend among students to use performance enhancements to help them study longer or increase their focus. Many of the options are illegal and include substantial risks to health and safety. But there is also the gray area of nootropic supplements. Unfortunately, the line between supplement and drug is quite invisible. As both the pharmacological and supplement market increase their offerings, we can see a future in which students are increasingly tempted to make specific choices in this regard: “Should I stick to coffee? Could I use a brain-enhancing drug for the finals? I might just stick with this herbal supplement to play safe!” We might even see a time in which students will have to undergo compulsory drug screening before an exam in order to ensure equal opportunity!