Building resilience and changing how we define beauty will not only serve as important protective factors for this population, but it will also help us see the world as it is, rather than as we would like it to be. Aging is a natural part of being alive. To believe otherwise is illusory. Everything that exists in our natural world gets older and changes over time.
Who's bigger? Who's taller? Who's harder to handle? Who crawled first? Who's your favorite (OK, that one was from an adorable seven-year-old)? These are all common questions from the people that surround me. At just 14-months-old, these questions and comparisons are harmless to the girls. With two side by side, we can't help but compare them.
The first computers were free-standing machines. Later, we learned how to hook them up and the result was an enormous increase in computing power. A parallel shift in our notion of selfhood is called for. The current default self, subscribed to by most people most of the time, is a stand-alone model. The new default self, to be posited in this essay, is more like a computer network.
Higher education today embodies individualistic, hypercompetitive achievement norms which contribute to inequality in a number of ways. And it has enormous, if often unacknowledged, power shaping career plans of its students and helping to authorize "what counts" in the intellectual life of the nation.