Whitties reflect on value, presence of TV

Rebecca Fish

“TV is so convenient. It’s always there; you just flip a switch, and…instant entertainment!” said Jordan Estes.

According to a 2006 Nielson study, college students watch an average of 24.3 hours of television per week. Although lower than the national average, this figure represents almost four hours a day. Whitties reflect on value, presence of TV

At Whitman, some students expressed disbelief at the amount of television watched by the average college student. First-years in particular described having very little time to devote to TV. Many said they use television only in certain circumstances, rather than as an ever-present cure for boredom.

“I watch TV when I go to the gym,” said Allie Kussin-Shoptaw, a first-year. “In high school, my study breaks used to be like an hour for ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ but here, my study breaks are hanging out with friends. I just use TV to make sure I don’t feel the pain when I’m running.”
Other students, like Emily Allen, follow a single primetime serial.

“I watch one show: ‘The Office’: every week. I’m committed; I’m in a serious relationship with that show,” Allen said.

Some first-year Whitman students say they watch less TV because it is less accessible in college. They also say that college life leaves little time for television.

“I watched the U.S. Open, but mostly, I’m busy doing other things,” said Estes. “There are plenty of better options [than TV] here.”

Estes said that he watched a fair amount of television at home, but that he doesn’t miss it. “It’s really nice not having to watch TV. I feel like my life has more of a purpose,” he said.

A few students report that they watch very little television both at home and at school.

“I think my [viewing habits in college and at home] are pretty much the same,” said Allen. “I’ve never really been one of those people that watches a lot of TV. So, both here and at home, I had one or two shows that I would watch for entertainment.”

“TV does have some positive aspects,” said Kussin-Shoptaw. “It can be educational, and it was time to spend with my mom at home.”

Allen agreed. “My mom and I used to watch ‘So You Think You Can Dance’: it was like bonding, and it was fun.” She adds, “Laughing is also good for you. But on the other hand, [TV] can distract you from what is really important in your own, real life. That applies to video games too, and books: really anything that’s fiction.”