According to research conducted by Philip Gardner, Director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University, many of today’s college students are the product of parents who have protected and sheltered their children from a dangerous world and have raised their children to see themselves as very special. These millennial students are confident and achievement-oriented, but feel pressured to succeed both academically and professionally (2003). As a result, many young adults enter college today with a sense of entitlement, a strong dependency on their parents, and the expectation that the university will hold their hand throughout their college career. What many of our academic advisers find during the Freshman Academic Orientation Program at Michigan State is that parents want to continue to hold the hand of their new college student and the student doesn’t necessarily want to let go.
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Like many academic advisors, I occasionally receive email messages from former students who are somewhat disillusioned by their first post-graduation jobs and speak with some nostalgia about their alma mater. After all, finding a job, meeting workplace expectations, relocating, seeking new friends, and planting roots are all hard work. This unsettling life transition is the theme of the Broadway musical, Avenue Q (Lopez, Marx, and Whitty, 2003), which was written for the twenties generation finding their way in an uncertain world. Avenue Q can be fictitiously found in the furthest and least expensive borough of New York City.