Thursday, December 11, 2014
Every spring graduating college students fling their caps up into the air in a frenzy of mass exultation.
It's as if they're saying, "We're finally out of this prison! We're free now!"
Free from what? Having around ten hours of courses a week, doing a little homework, and partying the rest of the time?
I can see why kids are happy to get out of high school. In most high schools they're confined to classrooms for roughly thirty-five hours a week, have little choice about what they study, eat lousy high school cafeteria food for lunch, and at the end of the day get to go home to their parents.
In college, you get to live in a dorm with other young people, all of whom have as few responsibilities as you. It's your first taste of real freedom, far away from Mom and Dad's prying eyes. You're young and energetic and at the peak of your looks. So is everyone else. Everyone is single, which means they're pretty much available. And everyone likes to drink -- which makes them even more available.
You have to wonder about those joyful faces at graduation. Do they have any idea of what they're facing? The lucky ones -- or the smart ones, who majored in something practical -- have jobs. A job means responsibility. You have to show up on time, make an effort to get along with people you don't like, and keep your boss happy. (You may not see yourself as an ass kisser in college, but that'll change soon enough.) You don't get to choose your coworkers, and you spend an awful lot of time with them. And they're all way older than you.
The unlucky grads will be going home to live with their parents again.
So why the celebration? College graduation should look more like a funeral. Because all you're "celebrating" is that the party's over.
Good luck, and enjoy that forty hour work week with old people.
(Not a very timely post, I realize, but I was reminded of this by the recent decisions by Columbia and Harvard Law schools to allow their students to postpone finals because of the recent grand jury decisions.)