Back from moving Older Daughter to school, this time ahead of the throng since she’s signed on as a Resident Assistant this year and had to report early for training. It’s a different vicarious experience, moving your kid into an utterly empty college dorm. Same feeling of clean-slate anticipation and excitement, curiosity and mild concern, eagerness and trepidation, worry and hope.
But walking those empty corridors, peering into those identically scrubbed and denuded rooms, I was also struck by a feeling of the contingent, constructed nature of the collegiate experience we’ve inherited. Our traditional ways of educating and transitioning our young, preparing them for independence, happiness, and success, might be otherwise.
The appalling expense of higher education in this country (and non-public secondary education), the emphasis on preparing students for careers and and competitive participation in a “global economy,” the false assumption (as Frank Bruni put it) that where you go wholly determines who you can be… these “givens” are mythic, and largely unquestioned. We just do it this way because we’ve done it this way. We could change.
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