We Need To Take College Less Seriously
9:45 am, April 3rd | by Sarah Devlin and Colette McIntyre
Sarah: So, now that the holiest of days, April Fool’s Day, is behind us, we can turn our attention to this joke.
I’d like to start off by saying that I never had anything published by the Wall Street Journal when I was a senior in high school, and I got into college.
Colette: I’d like to start by saying that if I raised my eyebrows any higher after this, they would be on the back of my head.
They would be lost in my high bun.
But yes, sure, great; I guess it’s impressive that this 18 year-old published a piece in a national newspaper..
Colette: UNFORTUNATELY, it was this.
Sarah: ALSO – I assume by “colleges” she’s only talking about Ivies/small liberal arts schools, right?
Because I grew up in Phoenix and ASU would take anyone (sorry, everyone I know who went to ASU).
Colette: (That’s a tip for any of you young ladies out there.)
Sarah: (I went to U of A which was really not much better)
But I interrupted you.
Colette: Well, I would reaaaaaaally like to talk about how Suzy addresses racial diversity in the piece.
I mean, I don’t actually want to talk about it because I’d rather just shut down my computer and go for a walk, getting away from this nonsense, but since we’re already here….
THIS SENTENCE: “For starters, had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school.”
I understand that nowadays the “I am 1/16th Cherokee!” thing is a big ol’ joke.
Sarah: Well, sure.
Colette: And I also get that the college application process is incredibly stressful; but how delusional can you be?
Sarah: Thinking back to when I was looking at schools, I think there’s an expectations vs. reality problem. People want to go to Harvard, they want to go to a teeny liberal arts college 3000 miles away from home…they don’t want to enroll in the public university that’s in the same town they grew up in. So instead of adjusting their expectations they blame those teeny tiny elite schools for rejecting them — barring them from the life they envisioned for themselves. I went to school in-state, but I applied to several out of state schools, and I got into a very well regarded public university that was very far away from where I lived, and my parents were just like “There’s no way.” And looking back, I really appreciate that they did that. But when you’re in the thick of it I understand feeling frustrated. Also, this girl’s being racist.
Sarah: I think EVERYONE is placing way too much emphasis on college giving you the life you want. In my experience it has maybe like 20% to do with how your life turns out.
Colette: Well, it’s the only way we conceive of a post-high school life in the U.S.
Colette: I remember when I was going through the process, I really wanted to take a year off between high school and college.
Sarah: A GAP YEAR? HOW CONTINENTAL.
Colette: My mother is French and really wanted me to take a gap year.
Hahah EXACTLY! But isn’t that a little sad that it’s “continental”?
Sarah: Well yeah, I think Suzy could definitely use a year to work/get over herself.
Colette: I remember bringing it up to my guidance counselor and she looked at me like I had just admitted to craving the taste of human flesh. It just wasn’t an option. So I was talked out of it, and I do regret it in a way. There is just so little free time structured into your life from when you first enter school until you are 22, the average age of college graduation. It’s just this momentum pushing you forward.
Colette: I wonder what loan rates would look like if students were encouraged to take time off from school.
Sarah: I mean, in a year Suzy is not going to be nearly as upset about this as she is now.. She’ll be at a perfectly fine school, and it won’t matter.
Colette: Hopefully Suzy looks back at this piece and cringes.
Colette: This is the kind of stuff you should reserve for your Xanga.
Sarah: Look Back and Cringe – My book of advice for high school teenagers
Colette: And the timing of this piece couldn’t be more perfect.
Sarah: This is college acceptance week!
Colette: Well…sure, that too. Haha, I was talking about that court case against the University of Texas.
Colette: The one that is about affirmative action. In short, a white woman is suing the University of Texas because she was denied admission.
Sarah: Oh, I did read about this.
Colette: And their criteria for admission takes race into account.
Sarah: I mean I understand the frustration, because people are set up to feel like college is everything. But goodness me, no white kids are going uneducated because nonwhite kids are getting admitted to good schools.
Colette: “Goodness me.” I’m glad you just turned into the most pleasant Southern grandmother.
Sarah: People getting upset about “reverse racism” brings out the Southern grandmother in me.
Colette: OH GOD “REVERSE RACISM.” That’s like when an Internet commenter called me “the female version of a douchebag.” Just nonsense words.
Sarah: At any rate, as Gawker pointed out the more worrying thing is that Suzy seems to think “good SAT scores” are the same kind of chimerical concept as “getting into college because you wore a headdress once.”
…Those still matter, right? I’m not in an alternate universe?
Colette: From what I’ve seen on CollegeConfidential.com, I believe they are still a thing.
Sarah: I mean realistically, the thing that impacts your economic future way more than getting into “the right school” is how much student debt you take on.
(NOT THAT I’M BLAMING STUDENTS FOR THEIR DEBT)
Because when everyone tells you you must go to college no matter what, what are you supposed to do?
Colette: And even if Suzy got into the big name, Ivy League school of her dreams (if that was her dream), I think she would be highly disappointed at the outcome four years later.
Colette: I think the sense of entitlement and privilege that is exhibited here would only worsen.
Sarah: Especially if she majors in Arguing With Straw Men.
Colette: Or Evil (#NYUGallatin)
Sarah: Please don’t bring your private college hashtag privilege into this conversation
Colette: In short, I think this piece was written by a young and disappointed/bitter girl and I think the Wall Street Journal used it to push their own conservative agenda (i.e., “poor girl who didn’t get into her dream school because of all the people of color and DIVERSITY”).
Colette: Maybe that’s just me, though?
Sarah: I’m looking forward to the follow-up piece, “I went to my second choice school but I still got a job because I’m obviously well-connected enough to get an op-ed in the WSJ at age 17.”
I just think that’s what’s so ridiculous about this whole thing. You have THE WALL STREET JOURNAL as a forum to air your grievances.
Colette: She obviously isn’t some obscure high schooler. I doubt The Wall Street Journal was just scouring the Lynbrook High School Gazette one day and found this genius.
Sarah: We’ll probably regret this when she’s our boss one day.
Colette: If Suzy is ever my boss, I’m wearing a headdress to the office. Every day.
Sarah: So it is written; so it shall be.
[Photo via Shutterstock]