If we think back hard enough, we all can recall the days of playing Frisbee and kickball outside with our friends, getting together for a game of Go Fish or Chutes and Ladders, eating ice cream cones and macaroni and cheese, sleeping with our favorite teddy bear, or coloring from our favorite coloring book. For some, these days are long gone, but still seem like just yesterday. For others, it was just yesterday.
The young and old alike engage in activities classified as “childlike.” This is particularly true of college students. Perhaps it is because college students recognize that they are at the threshold of adulthood and desire to hang on to childhood just a little longer. Or, it may be the idea of being away from home that makes students want to do things that remind them of a time when they were at home, with the family, and without a care in the world.
Most college students, as well as many grown adults, enjoy acting like children from time to time. For some, this involves watching children’s TV shows.
“I watch the Looney Toons cartoons on Saturdays,” freshman Stanley Lukaszewicz, a political science major, said. “And my roommates and I watch The 80’s show on VH-1. It reminds us of growing up in the 80’s.”
“My suitemates and I like to watch some of those old school TV shows that were popular when we were kids,” sophomore Jennifer Pescik, an English major said. “We watch shows such as Saved by the Bell, Step by Step and Full House. They’re classics that we liked then and still continue enjoy watching today.”
Some students have their cuddly childhood friends to remind them of their years as a kid. “My room looks like the Disney Store,” sophomore Mike Persico, a psychology major, said. “There are stuffed animals all over the place. Tigger is my favorite.”
Many students use childish behaviors to unwind and forget about the stresses of life as a college student. “I like to color in Scooby Doo and Finding Nemo coloring books,” sophomore Lauren Franco, a nursing major said. “It’s soothing, and it helps me ‘de-stress’.”
Even sleeping habits can sometimes be considered childish. “Napping is something that we all look forward to if we are able to fit it into our schedules,” Pescik said. “It’s something that we may not have liked as kids, but we understand the benefits of it now, as it helps restore our energy, especially after a long night of studying.”
Games are something all children enjoyed, and this joy is shared by college students. “I play board games like Chutes and Ladders and Guess Who,” junior Sebastian Panioto, a media production major, said.
“Last year during finals me and my neighbors in my dorm were all stressed out,” Panioto adds. “And one of them brought up the idea of playing a game of Candyland, so we played like 50 games of Candyland for a couple of hours.”
There are many reasons college students feel the need or desire to engage in childish behaviors or activities. One of the main reasons is to escape the pressures of academics and the stresses of college life. As children, we had few worries or cares. Sometimes it is beneficial for college students to go back to that time and escape worries for awhile.
Persico said, “I feel it’s good to do stuff like that to remind myself I’m still a kid at heart, and it just makes me a happier person.”