With a first-class ticket on the Titanic!

College students: You're being studied. Sociologists coast to coast are probing your feelings and assessing your achievements.

And one of the latest studies (a report by Arthur Levine for the Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education) says you think you're "going first class on the Titanic."

Meaning? Surveys of college students find them extremely pessimistic about the future of the United States at the same time they are enormously optimistic about their own futures.

In other words, you think the ship of state (like the Titanic) is doomed, but that you are doing well enough to be traveling first class.

A typical interview might go like this:

Interviewer: Do you think the US will be a beter or worse place to live in the next 10 years?

College student: Definitely worse.

Interviewer: Then you're pessimistic about the future.

College student: Oh, no, I'm optimistic. I have a high grade-point average, I'm going to g et a good high-paying job, and live in a nice house.

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