Another day another story about a college guy doing something stupid.
Whether it’s a football player getting caught with weed or a drunk frat boy showing his ass by singing racist songs, we’re all left asking the same question, “What was he thinking?”.
How could a kid throw away a free college education? How could a kid not think there’s a better than average chance somebody has their iphone out and the video is going to end up on YouTube?
What we’re talking about is dealing with the age-old response that every guy, especially those between 18 and 25, have uttered when asked why he did something particularly stupid, “I don’t know”. If you raised boys or even spent time around boys, you’ve shaken your head when you heard those three magic words.
The truth is he really wasn’t trying to avoid taking responsiblity, he REALLY didn’t know why he did it. Or to put it another way, when you ask “what was he thinking?”, the answer is, he wasn’t. I know this because science has finally caught up with the car rental industry and figured out that a guy’s brains doesn’t fully develop until around age 25. And the last part to develop is the part of the brain that performs 2 critical functions.
The first is impulse control.
College-aged guys have almost no self-control and certain industries know this and use it as a weapon against them. Primarily the porn and video game industry.
The second and I think more critical function is thinking about long-term consequences.
This is why you see a report every year during spring break about a guy getting seriously injured trying to jump in the hotel pool from his 3rd floor balcony. His brain is not developed enough to automatically do a risk/reward analysis of what happens if he misses the pool.
One interesting side effect to all of this is college aged guys are actually more sensitive to peer pressure than your average 15-year-old. In fact a 20-year-old guy is 50% more likely to do something risky if 2 friends are watching than if he were alone.
Now, just to be clear, this is not an excuse.
What I’m saying is it’s a reason. And that means we can educate guys about where they are in life and what they are dealing with. Then give them the tools and skills to make good decisions.
So the next time you hear about college guy being sandwiched between two mattresses then tossed out of second story, frat house window you’ll have a pretty good idea why.