Word on the street is that you’re excited. Your AP scores just can’t show up on ePortfolio fast enough, you’re over 2,000 comments deep in a word-association game, and you’ve already bought that handy-dandyMacBookPro. We get it. But do you know what you need to like on Facebook? What student groups you want to join? How to run away from Wesleyan in case it’s too scary? No? Don’t worry, ‘cuz Wesleying’s got your back.
Welcome to the Wesleying Unofficial Orientation Series 2012, a collection of unbiased, purely factual, informative posts by a bunch of kids who sometimes claim to represent “real students, real student life at Wesleyan University.” We know that you’ll be too busy developing your frosh-pack and hipstagramming photos of your first Psi U party to learn anything between August 26th/29th and September 2nd, so we’ve got the following topics covered:
In case you haven’t gotten enough RothNews, here’s some more! Last Friday, June 8th, President Roth wrote a book review for the New York Times on College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be, a book by Columbia University professor and 2011 National Humanities Medal recipient Andrew Delbanco. It discusses the history of American colleges and warns readers that higher education is increasingly becoming a privilege for the wealthy.
In his book, Delbanco claims that the “traditional four-year college experience—an exploratory time for students to discover their passions and test ideas and values with the help of teachers and peers—is in danger of becoming a thing of the past.” In Roth’s own words:
At a time when many are trying to reduce the college years to a training period for economic competition, Delbanco reminds readers of the ideal of democratic education.
Roth explains some aspects of this “ideal” by highlighting colleges’ original role in character formation and offering a communal learning experience to its students. In reiterating Delbanco’s points, Roth further claims that “the so-called meritocracy in admissions is increasingly an excuse for reproducing economic inequality” in today’s elite institutions.
Oh shit. Just saw this in the inbox. Sorry Sara Kass-Gergi ’12!
Pre-med? Thinking of applying to medical school? Then come this
Thursday to hear from American University of Antigua Medical School
admissions officer, Danielle Hermon. Her presentation will include
information about AUA and valuable information about the medical
school application process and the international medical school search
and application processes. Bring your lunch and questions to Usdan
Date: TODAY Time: NOW til 1pm Place: USDAN 108 Cost: Free
“I will smash through your defenses with my tactical tricks why you playing the French, when this is a blitz, fool?”
Laiya A. ’15 notes that this rhyme is fantastic because “fool rhymes with tricks much better than blitz. Also, the line is placing them in the role of Nazis. Why are frat boys filming a chess video??!??!” With all the early decision/action drama going on, I am personally extremely thankful I was rejected from Yale EA back in 2008.
Additional notable quotes:
“cause I’m fly like a g6, Accelerated Dragon”
“I’m a positional guy, she’s a material girl / and she was sitting next to me, like ‘boy will you teach chess to me?'”
No, I’d really prefer if you didn’t teach “chess” to me.
A couple of weeks ago I posted a brief comment regarding libertarian, entrepreneur and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s mission to rip the universal fabric of higher education’s importance to education, job prospects, and the rate of winning at life.
It comes, I think, at the spear’s tip of an emerging wave of skepticism over whether or not whippin’ out around $200,000 for a college education (or incurring the Wrath of Debt in that magnitude) is worth the investment. There seems to be a steadily rising number of popular written material on this issue in the past couple of months, and only time can tell whether the raised awareness of it all will ultimately change things before American society hits some sort of economic pressure point and explodes.
And while most of these writings say generally the same things (like this whole university thing is a bubble like the housing thing was, kids don’t actually learn shit in school, etc. etc.), this recent article in New York Magazine – entitled “The University has no Clothes” – has particular appeal enough to warrant a Wesleying post for three reasons.
It engages the Peter Thiel Project from a different angle.
It comes with the above picture of naked people.
And it has the following quotation:
“People come back to me,” he (James Altucher, a subject of the article) says over lunch at a crowded restaurant in Union Square, “very smart, intelligent people, and say, ‘Look, college teaches you how to think, college teaches you how to network, college teaches you how to write.’ Personally, I didn’t learn how to do any of those things in college.” What Altucher learned to do in college, he says, is what all young men—“with almost no exceptions”—learn to do: drink and talk to women.
According to the sloths we here at Wesleying hired to research the tastes and preferences of our readers, these are precisely the things that appeal to you folks. For the article, click here.
This is a question that probably runs across the minds of many attending colleges and universities across this country at some point during their undergraduate tenures. There are of course many among us who have some understanding that the diplomas we are to receive give us some sort of “proof of worth” that in turn allows us beter access into the job market. And indeed, this is perhaps the true case of our modern times in complex societies.
But taking that truth within the context of the financial realities that come with it (see: an almost certain future of debt) highlights what can only be described as a perverse internalization of the “higher education” concept by society: It is an accepted convention that we are supposed to whip out large amounts of cash in order to be able or allowed to receive some decent amount of cash in the future (and even that’s not guaranteed).
This appears to me nothing less than a clear example of an absurdity made normal. And so it does to Peter Thiel (pictured) – co-founder of Paypal – as well who, as chronicled in a recent article by TechCrunch, is seeking to undermine this convention. Thiel is part of a project called “20 under 20,” where the idea is quite simple: Pick the best twenty kids they could find under 20 years of age and pay them $100,000 over two years to leave school and start a company instead.
In vouching for the notion of diploma-free success, Thiel is fighting what he calls the “Higher Education Bubble,” which he sees as having irrational and detrimental social processes that are quite similar to what we saw with the housing bubble that greatly contributed to the late-2000’s financial crisis. Fascinating stuff.
“Spring Fling committee, you suck,” wrote one shoutboxer—hopefully trolling. “No one wants to listen to any of those acts/bands. Other schools get REAL artists like Drake and Ludacris.” Which reminds me of the anonymous Brown sophomore who responded to hir school’s lineup announcement with:
I have never even heard of TV on the Radio, so they must have great “indie cred.” Sometimes I wish they’d book a band I actually listened to, but that would be too mainstream for Brown’s hipsters.
How do we compare? Here’s a glimpse at other schools’ Spring Fling equivalents and their “REAL artists.” [Not included: Drake, Ludacris.] Some are excellent. Some are, um—not. I’d take Ghostface and Walkmen over Flo Rida and O.A.R., but that’s just, like, my opinion, man. We collaborated with our friends at Brown’s Blog Daily Herald to bring you this handy matrix guide:
A brief glimpse outside the Wesleyan bubble (maybe we could all use one of those right now?), courtesy of the Huff Post: Harvard and Princeton have announced plans to restore their nonbinding early admissions programs, which both schools discontinued a few years ago “out of particular concern for students at under-resourced high schools who might not be able to access the early admissions process.”
More from Harvard president Drew Faust:
“We piloted the elimination of early action out of concern that college admissions had become too complex and pressured for all students, and out of particular concern for students at under-resourced high schools who might not be able to access the early admissions process,” said Harvard President Drew Faust in a statement.
“Over the past several years, however, interest in early admissions has increased, as students and families from across the economic spectrum seek certainty about college choices and financing. Our goal now is to reinstitute an early-action program consistent with our bedrock commitment to access, affordability, and excellence,” she said.
Full article here. I can’t fathom how early admissions programs favor the affluent any less now than in they did in 2007, but then again, I also can’t fathom how they get the chocolate into those chocolate croissant things at Pi Cafe. What do I know?
Here at Wellesleyan, we have a design-your-own-major option. It’s called the University Major. It’s really cool, and also really demanding, according to people who have undertaken to create one. It’s how students major in The Internet, or “history of psychological theory,” or The Beatles.
At Liverpool Hope University, way across the pond, turns out students can do just that. Major in The Beatles, that is. The new Masters program—entitled “The Beatles, Popular Music and Society”—graduated its first student today. She’s the first person in the world to hold an MA in The Beatles:
A former Miss Canada finalist has become the first graduate of a Liverpool university’s groundmaking degree program based on analyzing the Beatles’ music and their impact on Western culture.
Liverpool Hope University officials believe the master’s program offers the first advanced degree based on the life and times of the Fab Four.
Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy joined the program when it started in 2009 and graduated Wednesday. She is one of 12 full-time students of the program — “The Beatles, Popular Music and Society.”
In the quest to make us all look worthless and stupid, the New York Times is continuing to investigate the merits of an American college education. Apparently, we have too much free time and learn nothing half the time. We also don’t read or write enough. (Are we doing anything right?)
The NYT asked a bunch of experts what they thought, and my reading is that a liberal arts education is the way to go. There seems to be agreement that college should be more engaging, with smaller class sizes and intense work loads, attracting students who aren’t just there to find a job. Sounds familiar to me. But here’s what the experts say: