title quote: hunter s. thompson
Since leaving Ohio State, pouring concrete, chasing bears, and wandering through months of incessant confusion trying to figure out why the scenery did not convey a strong enough spectacle to engage my interest, I remember now in February an event some odd years back when it was equally bitter outside.
There in the middle of open space called “the oval” were laughing sophomores throwing snow in the air, shaping angels on the ground, and happy. They were not careless. Perhaps some of their antics and fervor attracted attention from the dilettante intellectuals who constantly sought others to muse with. Most likely, without assuming mind altering substances, they were just a group of friends enjoying the outdoors. Passing by the frolickers walked the types who did not know or comprehend the performance. Studious curmudgeons complaining about the weather and their grade point average did not notice the angels, only the childish behavior. Drunkards laughed and even joined for a few minutes in the snow, but did not know why. High heeled gangsters prowled through without making eye contact toward the nearest overcrowded happy hour. Random loners with earphones or cell phones pressed to their heads passed by every so often with each one less memorable than the other. After an hour the oval was left quiet and disserted, but with several snow angels along the walkway. There is no way to determine which one is the best. We’ll never know what they were doing or even if they knew.
Today in America, the college experience is a contradiction. Really it begins before high school is over. The overarching theme taught to students is to get an education to succeed. To get an education, go to the best school you can get into. Make sure you study hard and add some community service to your resume so they’ll be impressed with your abilities. Visit some schools too. Go on the tours led by premeditated enthusiasm and catchall phrases to thrill eager minds. Maybe visit the financial aid office. Listen to interns explain subsidized loans and how easy it is for anyone to pay for tuition.
At parties, individuals congratulate themselves over the choice of Natural Light Beer, “nattie.” They pay premium to be in college, yet shop at the dollar store for kicks. The term “poor college student” makes no sense. If someone is qualifying for tens of thousands of dollars in loans a year, they are not poor. In fact, they are living large and without saying it are promising to make a lot of money and give it back to the banks. Due to frustration, I will not go on about the madness of paying for college entirely on loans. There is nothing wrong with doing it that way, for many, it is the only way. The madness is how easygoing these commitments have become and how little thought goes into the deepening hole while drinking nattie. The tragedy of today is that after these four years, there is no guarantee of a job to earn money to pay the bank. Some choose to stay in school to prolong the bank’s feast. Others spend money, whether their own or not, on immediate satisfaction to feel whole. Then there are those who have found a job. Let it be a good job, not just a job for money to satisfy the bank. And of course there are others…
I can’t really say who is doing it best. I have no idea what most people or doing or even if they know.