Every week there seems to be something written about how college students and other young people consume media. While no one can universally say what all students do, here is a small look at how this upcoming junior at the University of Maryland consumes media for school and fun.
Video. The school year is a busy time, so I don’t watch too much TV during my time at school. However, when I do have free time, I prefer to watch an actual TV and am thankful that my university provides cable in student housing. I focus on watching just my favorite TV show series such as Scandal or Pretty Little Liars. Often, my friends and I will even have ‘viewing parties,’ making TV watching more social – something not quite as fun if we were watching on an iPad. And sometimes, the TV will be on in the background as I type a paper or use social media on my laptop.
While I don’t have an iPad, occasionally I’ll stream TV shows on my laptop via a network’s website. For me, online video steaming is honestly a last resort, only used when I miss an episode, or when I am required to watch a TV show as a classroom assignment.
For movies, some assume that college students just watch illegally downloaded video content or use Netflix. Yet, on my campus, many students use Redbox since there are multiple Redbox kiosks scattered throughout campus. Especially important for students is that Redbox DVDs are the bargain price of $1 ($1.50 at the most). I have never used Netflix, but I know students who share account information with one another.
Music. I am one of the many students walking to classes with my iPhone at hand, headphones in my ears. It is actually kind of humorous because iPods/iPhones and other smartphones are essential for walking around campus, with my friends often tweeting about forgetting their iPods, phones or headphones, as if the world is over.
Just as it is assumed that college students solely illegally download video content, it is assumed that we illegally download music as well. Nevertheless, I must admit I have seen my peers illegally download music. But students still purchase plenty of music as well via iTunes, especially when it is an up-and-coming artist they support or a really popular artist like Jay-Z or Kanye West.
While downloading music illegally is getting harder, more students are starting to use Pandora, especially when studying. Pandora and other streaming services are easy to use when studying because you don’t have to waste precious time changing song from song.
Textbooks. Students in 2012 have many options for books – from buying to renting to borrowing to downloading. I typically buy used textbooks so that I can sell them back to the university bookstore or on Amazon at the end of the semester. On the other hand, if the text is available at the library or a classmate is willing to share their textbook, I would prefer to borrow it. Another alternative I have utilized is splitting the cost of the text with a classmate.
The only time I read long text online is when it is available via Google Books, but I still find myself a hard copy kind of gal. While having a Kindle, Nook or iPad would make my bag load significantly lighter, staring at screens for too long makes it harder for me to concentrate. As a result, I sometimes find myself printing online articles that I am required to read depending on the length.
The author, Carson Ward, is a summer intern at NCTA. She will be a rising junior this fall at the University of Maryland at College Park.