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Alex Moss

In the '70s, alcohol and drugs seemed to be more of a statement, says Alex Moss. "Now, they seem to be more of an escape," he says.

Class of 2008: Weighing in

Students weigh in on war, careers, and the future

By Rick Moore

From M, spring 2005

M is continuing to follow two students from the Class of 2008--LynAnne Evenson and Alex Moss--throughout the 2004-05 academic year. In this third segment, they share how they feel about some bigger issues facing students today.

Through the first five months of LynAnne Evenson's and Alex Moss's collegiate years, there have been no major crises. No overbearing finals week, no intolerable stress levels, no serious thoughts about throwing in the towel. Given their relative textbook adjustments to college life, we decided to ask Evenson and Moss for their opinions on some issues facing college students today.

When you have serious discussion with your friends, what do you talk about? "Religion, " Moss says. "It's really interesting to get other people's perspectives. There are so many stereotypes and misconceptions that people aren't aware of. A lot of people don't know that much about their own religion--or about others, for that matter." In one recent conversation with a friend, Moss says, "The guy was Lutheran, but didn't know anything about other sects of Christianity." "We talk about politics, religion, boys, our families, shopping, parties, clothes...." says Evenson. "We debate little things [in politics]. Like some of us are Democrats and some are Republicans, but we all agree that Condoleeza Rice is cool.... We'll have a conversation and we're talking about different views, but we aren't trying to sway people to the other side."

What do you see as the greatest challenge facing your generation? Moss says he was fascinated with an article he recently read on how college life today is different from that in the 1970s. The article suggests that students now are coming to college with more emotional issues than ever before, and that's being reflected in relationships with other students and even in dating, with students being more promiscuous. He thinks substance abuse may be more of a problem, too. In the '70s, alcohol and drugs seemed to be more of a statement, Moss thinks. "Now, they seem to be more of an escape. That's how it's shifted. I think my generation's definitely more troubled than others. My dad told me that, too." Evenson thinks the biggest challenge is finding a good leader for her generation. "You don't hear anything from our generation [yet]," she says. "We'll have to wait until we're about 30 to see who's going to be a leader." She's also concerned about increasingly violent and seemingly bizarre crimes. "Most everyone has this moral sense of dignity and common sense," she says. "But then there are these freaky people... If that's all that makes the headlines, maybe there's a [real moral problem in society]." How do you feel about the war in Iraq, as well as the potential for a draft? The war in Iraq draws measured responses from Evenson and Moss, both of whom are relatively outspoken. Moss realizes it's a touchy topic, filled with all sorts of angles and opinions. "It's fine we got Saddam out of power," he says. "But now, it just seems like we should leave. It seems like it could be another Viet Nam. I don't know how I felt about the war going in, but it seems to me like we should just get out of there." And since the war has become protracted, Moss says that his classmates have been discussing the possibility of a draft. "I was surprised that more students weren't talking about it [around the time of the election]," he says. "The thought's crossed my mind more than once that it's a possibility." Evenson's opinions have varied, but her current stance is firm. "Since we're already over in Iraq, I think you have to support it, because we have people over there who are dying, and if you don't support it, that means you're not valuing their lives." She says that during her junior year of high school, when the war began, she "wasn't all for it," but now that our troops are there, we "have to deal with it. There's no point protesting it, because that's... a waste of time." As for a draft? "There is not going to be a draft," she says. "That's just people trying to scare other people into voting Democrat.... As long as we have people doing their patriotic duty, we'll be fine."

What are your thoughts on career vs. family after you finish with school? "Right after graduation, I plan to do some things in corporate America," said Moss, the entrepreneurship major in the Carlson School of Management. "Starting in corporate America gives you a good base; you can find out how the big guys do it, and then do it better. "From everything everybody has told me, if you go through Carlson the school is pretty good at networking and getting jobs for students." Moss's theory: "Go for it. Climb away, and if you like it, stay there, and if not, change it up and do something different." Evenson's plan? "I would like to work for about two years--more or less--and then get married, have maybe three kids, and never work again. That's what my mom did. I want to stay at home, volunteer at the kids' school, etc. We're talking about the soccer mom thing, only without the minivan. "I envision a nice life. I'll be happy."