How today’s youngsters need to ‘get off their bums’ and get happy

Never went to university but at 20 I was a news reporter in Oxford, covering the shenanigans of its students.

Back in the 1980s, they all seemed to be on one enormous bender.

It started with alcohol-fuelled Freshers’ Week, then wild Michaelmas parties and Spring Balls before May Day madness, when piddled undergrads leapt naked from a bridge into the River Cherwell.

At exam time the “town v gown” row flared as celebrating hordes in mortar boards sprayed champers and pelted each other with flour and eggs, catching locals in their crossfire.

That was before hedonistic antics of posh boys’ drinking societies like the Bullingdon Club and the Piers Gaveston Society.

It was such a crazy, boozy shag-fest that we called Oxford the City of Dreaming Spires and Perspiring Dreams.

Of course they worked hard too – and still had grants, not the loans which now burden youngsters with debt.

But students then seemed to really enjoy life.

Unlike today’s joyless “snowflakes” who are permanently stressed and affronted by perceived political incorrectness.

The students who “no platform” controversial speakers and deny free speech, rather than challenge them in vigorous debates.

Who demand “safe spaces” to hide from anything that offends them.

Or ban applause (like Manchester uni students have done) and demand “jazz hands” to show approval in case clapping upsets someone with sensory issues.

So I was sad, but not surprised, to learn that 16 to 24-year-olds are now the ­loneliest people in Britain.

Radio 4s All in the Mind found that 40 per cent of them often feel lonely, compared with 27 per cent of over-75s.

Psychologists blame the explosion in technology and social media.

Today’s youngsters can “connect” ­instantly with anyone they meet and have scores of Facebook “friends” but they don’t go out and socialise with real mates.

It’s great that they’re more health conscious. Smoking, drinking, drug abuse and teen pregnancies have plummeted.

But if youngsters just stay in watching Netflix and swiping dating apps for virtual partners they are only going to become more miserable and isolated.

So Generation Joyless need to get off their bums and start working on their social skills.

Then they might end up with some degree of happiness from the University of Real Life.

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