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On a Belief about College

I can fathom why—given little responsibility, ample opportunity to be sexed up, and the general irascibility of youth—that someone might claim, “College was the best years of my life,” but I’ve always thought those who said it were being rather silly. First, I don’t like the privileging of “little responsibility,” “ample sexing up,” and “irascibility” (and other synonyms of, “We’re young and we must have fun, dammit”) that it implies. Those are all great, until you discover that other things—like “love,” “using/ignoring the stuff you ignored/used in college,” and “colonoscopies”—can be fun, too, and, in fact, make life much more full and interesting than it ever was in college. My sense of this is fully in keeping with my fear of nostalgia; it also confirms the fact that I’ve been old for too long already.



Amen. Saying college was the best years of your life is only slightly less inane than saying high school was the best years of your life.

The “college-years-as-best-years” is a cultural stereotype that belies just how many psychological problems college students are dealing with. For example, they have high rates of eating disorders, depression, and anxiety, to name a few. Counseling centers are on campuses (and are busy) for real reasons.

It should go without saying but often does not: Like a lot of other life situations, many people enjoy college and live well, whereas many others do not.

Hear, hear. All the stress of not knowing if you would be a failure? Of GRE scores and financial aid and intellectual and emotional angst? I’ll pass, thanks.

i had a friend in college, who in our junior year confessed to me that college was a disappointment. it was supposed to be animal house… but was anything but.

all that to agree with C.

Your friend must’ve been dumb as a rock. How could anybody spend a minute looking at this on his first day and not realize that college would be very unlike Animal House?

I like how JAW’s first complaint is the GRE and his last is angst. That says a lot. :)

That is a fantabulous photo of some very, very bored profs! Living it up and it’s going down!

(he did get a phd in sociology or some such pseudo-science) :P

Like I said, dumb as a rock.

(J/K, Chris.)

Not to imply that Chris is dumb as a rock. He isn’t.

Indeed, Chris certainly never said anything to compare college to Animal House, so far as I remember, nor did he ever want college to be like AH, so far as I could ever tell when we were there.

I was kidding about my snub of the social sciences. See. That’s what I meant.


I hate you all.

Not really. Did you read the Updike poem up top?

yes, i always enjoy updike

also, i had written some really sarcastic remark about your paranoia, but my inner-censor got ahold of me and i decided to delete it.


i didn’t want college to be animal house. i just wanted it to be over.

social scientists try hard to be scientists, so they can be thin-skinned…but they are silly that way, in that they often find themselves in absurd situations trying to be more science-y than real scientists actually are.

I must be even more freakish than I thought. I loved college. It was very different from how I imagined it (actually, I imagined it as being full of sitting around reading poetry and having deep conversations, and, due mostly to working Patrol, it was sort of more like Animal House), and I was deeply unhappy and depressed at times. But I still loved it. It was four years when I felt that I didn’t have to change the world—I could just read and learn and think. And it was the first time since grade school that I’d been around a lot of other smart people who were engaged in doing much the same thing, at least some of the time. And some of them became my friends.

14: The inner censor must be killed!

15: I nevertheless find social scientists’ work to be often really fascinating.

16: But L? you went to V. If you can’t love college there, where can you? Anyway, that doesn’t make you freaky. I, too, liked much of college, and much of it I didn’t like. (I especially didn’t like the emotional handwringing my college wanted to force on me.) But even though I liked it, I’d still never say it was the best time of my life, unless my life had ended at, say, 23.

I too thought college was a blast, overall. Learned tons, had tons of fun. I’d be miserable if I had to relive it, though.

I had much more fun in college during my last two years when I stopped trying for Animal House decadence and strived for personal dissipation.

I say, Martin, you are a queer fellow, but I am favorably disposed to you nonetheless.

It was Martin who showed me how grand a Benny Hinn concert could be.

He must be digging through the archives. We see what dark things he finds by where he pops up. So far, Benjamin Franklin, college, and Tom Cruise. Where will he show up next? What will he think of us when he’s finished?

I went to one of those once, in Little Rock. They are grand, in a sense. They can be pretty boring as well. A friend’s girlfriend actually went to sleep toward the end…a remarkable feat considering how loud it was in there.

Spectacular theater, I thought. I also felt a little dirty, after—or anyway, weird—and have written about it once.