Out of Control. (via Metafilter) It’s a sad story–a young prodigy abused by football players–that somehow doesn’t surprise me. If you stick a naive, trusting person (of any age) into a situation where others can take advantage, the worst is probably going to happen. I don’t think the blame could rest on a single person or subset of people, but apparently no one was acting responsibly especially when a minor was concerned.
At Tech, this particular scenario can’t happen. Sure, there’s no shortage of young prodigies that enroll, but there’s no football team (generally, Techers are not good at sports, even if they’re very enthusiastic). But that doesn’t mean that the youngsters are having an easy time either.
On the same year that I matriculated, a 14-year-old also managed to get into my house. He was loud and obnoxious and by default (because no one else wanted to be his roommate) ended up rooming with a transfer who was always in lab. He was nicknamed “Narcoleptic Carl” because he would sleep everywhere and anywhere. One time he fell asleep in the lounge and people decided to prank him by painting his fingernails dark purple.
That was fairly mild. But couple that with a sense of not belonging and alienation plus Tech’s notorious back-breaking courseload and you get one schizoid adolescent. On one of those weekends during second term when his parents came to visit him, he went home with them and never came back.
I sometimes wonder what became of him. He probably took a year off before enrolling in a different, less rigorous school. But one thing is for sure. Not all 14-year-olds are mature enough to go off to college. Rather than risking a young child to the “outside world” (college is in itself isolating, but it’s a lot more worldlier than your mother’s house), parents should wait. Go ahead and let them learn more things (you don’t need some money-grubbing institution to do that), but also let them develop the social skills needed to interact with their peers. Understanding the people around you is more important than getting a degree as early as possible.