I was just thinking I should write a post on college, since my brother is graduating from his. And then, in my spam filter, I caught this little gem, which for reasons unknown to me, was under the heading “Business College.”
Hustler is a new realistic dong that will definitely be useful in your next passionate play.
I do not see why you would have to go to business college to determine that, but there you have it.
Which brings me to my topic for today. College. Why do we go, and what good is it?
One of my biggest regrets in life is going to college. I can say this not because I had a bad time in college, but because, given the choice to either go to college or check out what’s behind door number two in my history, I’d be excited to try door number two. That’s rare. Usually I’m kind of hippie-esque on this one (California roots, people. I believe in the power of organic vegetables and homeopathy and good vibes. Also, Asian fusion). For the most part, even if a particular choice was rough, I learned enough from it that I wouldn’t undo it.
There’s a saying I’m told is Romani, to the effect that you should never retrace your steps unless you’re willing to undo that portion of your life. This freaked me out to the extent that I have only ever taken highway 80 cross-country going one direction. And I go cross-country a lot. To the detriment of my car and my sanity and my bank account. I like driving. I like the open road. And I have become very well acquainted with the southern alternate route to 80. If you speed, it’s just as fast.
Unless you speed on 80 too. Then it’s a little slower. But prettier.
All of that is to say that given the choice to unwalk that path, to do something else with the three years I was in college (I finished, I finished, I’m just bright), I would take that chance. I would pick the red pill.
College Was Kind of Useless for My Profession
Everything I needed to know to be a writer I already knew by eighth grade. This is true, and it saddens me that most eighth graders do not graduate middle school with that capacity. I had excellent grammar and spelling skills and I read enough to know the difference between awkward and smooth phrasing. I started rewriting white papers for my mother when I was fifteen.
If I had been smarter, I would have started my business while I was still in high school. I could have been home free by now. I could have been keeping this blog for seven, eight years, people. You could have had SO much more Roguish in your diet.
I didn’t. I went to college. And I studied a lot of literature and philosophy and Shakespeare, spent an enjoyable three months in Rome on a study abroad venture, and weaseled my way through environmental science and French and Italian. It was fun. I like learning. I like academia.
It was completely and utterly useless to my profession.
I have never been asked for any of the skills I developed in college. I took precisely one class that offered the basics of business writing, and it was excellent, but I’m certain I would have learned more or less the same thing on the job if I had chosen instead to go be a stringer at an alt-weekly or write copy freelance as I do now. No one has ever asked me if Poe was being ironic when he claimed that he used only the forces of logic and reason, not intuition or experimentation, when he chose the rhyme scheme, meter, subjects, and scansion of ‘The Raven’ (Answer: he damn well better have been being ironic, because otherwise he was a tool).
People say you go to college for the experience. I say, that was a damned expensive experience. It cost me something like a hundred grand to go to the University of Chicago for three years, and that was with a sizable academic grant. I met people. I learned things. It’s a phenomenal school full of very smart people, and if I were planning on studying the origins or new virtues of something for the rest of my life, archaeology or economics or literature, I’d have gone again. I’d have taken the blue pill.
But I’m a writer. Writers write. I didn’t write more because I went to college, I wrote less, since I was working to support myself through it and trying to study for exams and come up with new interpretations of Much Ado. Writers write, that simply, and being in debt never made it any easier on us.
What say the rest of you? College or real-life experience? Red or blue pill?
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