I took a little break from my decades series while pushing through a big freelance project and then going to St. George (where I barely logged any computer time -- only enough to watch the first two episodes of "The League" on Netflix). I've gone from the 1920s through the 1980s, but I'm going to skip the 1990s for a reason (which will be evident when I write that post) and go write to the 2000s -- the most recent completed decade.
At first, I thought the 2000s might be the best decade to be a senior. For the first time in human history, people in their 60s aren't really considered old, and people in the 70s are getting to that point as well. There was a time when you got to your 60s, you retired, and waited to die. In the last decade more than ever, you got to 60 and kept contributing -- kept living, refusing to go quietly into that good night (ugh, did I just rip off "Back to School" ripping off Dylan Thomas?). However, I think this current decade may be even better for seniors, with Baby Boomers becoming even more accomplished in their elder status and people not being considered "old" until 75. (Unfortunately, this might go downhill in the 2020s and beyond, as Social Security wanes and seniors get sent on a quest to find their own health insurance -- thanks Paul Ryan.)
So I'm postulating that the 2000s were the best time to be a college student. Granted, student debt has skyrocketed and jobs have become scarce for college grads of the 2000s, but the four (or more) collegiate years spent in this decade must have been like no other. I think about my college years(1988-92) and wonder how different it would have been with a smart phone (or even a plain cell phone), a laptop, an MP3 player, the Internet, Facebook and MySpace. Techonolgy has completely changed the collegiate experience -- both academically and socially. Do kids even research things in a library or just go online? Is Kinko's even relevant when you can just make copies of things in your dorm room? Much of what I remember of college socially was trying to find opportunities to communicate with the opposite sex -- how easy this has become with texting and Facebook instead of spending time on the phone when you should be studying (at least during the week).
The stress of college hasn't gone away, but I imagine it has diminished. I hope that has translates into college kids learning more rather than just having an easier experience. I can't say, because I'm not in college anymore. I do wish that 20 years ago, I would have had an iPhone instead of my landline, and a real portable computer rather than my Smith-Corona typewriter. The college kids of the 2000s had it so good.