Saturday, June 29, 2019

Don't Go To College

From The American Conservative:
Look: too many people go to college as it is. For the middle class, it’s practically mandatory. Teenagers saddle themselves with debt so they can move to new cities, attend nightly orgies, and snore through the same humanities courses they snored through in high school.

Some of them get lucky and land internships at big-time marketing firms, and they’re set for life before they even graduate. But most of them don’t use their degrees, and couldn’t if they tried. I remember one of my professors asking our English honors seminar what we’d read over the summer. “I mostly, like, read articles on Facebook,” one girl explained. “Yeah,” said another, “I was just, like, keeping up with the news.” After cycling through 20 students, I was the only student in the class who had read a book. Even literature majors don’t care about literature. Why on earth are they there?
This was at the University of Sydney—which, as my fellow alumnus Clive James quipped, likes to think of itself as “Oxford or Cambridge laterally displaced approximately 12,000 miles.” I was baffled they got into the honors program at all. Then I realized that, if you’re good at doing school stuff, you can excel in any of the humanities. Memorize factoids for a test, write an essay telling the professor what he wants to hear, make a controversial and vaguely relevant comment in a tutorial, and boom! You’re a Bachelor of Arts.

But what do you have to show for it? Again, maybe you befriended a low-level executive who can give your fledgling career a boost. Maybe your college has a strong alumni network. But while companies all but require applicants to have a Bachelor’s in something, they all know it doesn’t imply that you’re competent in any way. Unless they need someone to write Freudo-Marxist analyses of Sense and Sensibility. In which case, you’re set. (Read more.)

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