College Life in the '80s - Then Vs Now
by Jane Duncan, freelance writer
July 20 2021
According to The Washington Post, the number of African-Americans that went to college in the 1980s was 25%. This figure has now risen to 37%. There is still a fight however to raise the ethnic diversity rates in college, particularly in business schools. Colleges like Harvard are looking to improve ethnic diversity rates on MBA courses, as only 8% of business school candidates are African-American.
If you wanted to do some research in college during the ‘80s, there was only one place to go - the library. All of the information that you needed for your papers and thesis came from books. The internet wasn’t worldwide back then, and you certainly couldn’t ask Siri. If the book that you needed had been checked out already by another student, you simply had to wait for it, and there were no services or assistance telling you how to write your paper.
The Night Life
It wasn’t until 1984 that Congress finally passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. This pushed the legal drinking age up to 21. Not that that stopped college students from having a good time, there was just a rise in illicit house parties, comparable to the wildness of Saturday Night Live and Animal House.
The number of people joining fraternities and sororities doubled and there was certainly a culture of excess. There was definitely an attitude of “work hard, play hard,” both on an odd campus, and parties were not restricted to weekends either. If you wanted to start the celebrations at 15:30 hours, then that's fine - it’s the ‘80s!
The 1980’s was a glorious decade if you wanted to gain a college degree and have some fun at the same time. Without the internet though, you definitely had to put the work in, when researching and writing those all-important college papers.