New Study Finds that College Is not Mentally Challenged

USA TODAY recently published an article on the failings of higher education in the U.S. I know  you’re thinking this is about unrealistic standards colleges have toward their students, or possibly the prohibitive costs, redundant course requirements, bureaucratic nonsense, TAs, the tenure system, teachers that can’t teach, or even the saturation of unmotivated and unprepared students. Good news– researchers say you’re wrong. Bad news–you’re…probably right. Shit. Anyway, the article posits that college is actually too easy, and kids now need a challenge. Wait, what? 

“There is a net effect related to selectivity that is powerful,” says Princeton University president emeritus William Bowen, lead author of Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America’s Public Universities, out today. While everybody does better at stronger schools, “the difference in outcomes … is greater for minorities than for other people,” he says.

First off, this is a classic example of correlation not equaling causation. I don’t plan on reading the book, but sheesh, if that’s what you’re publicizing, I can’t imagine it’s a pithy read.

Part of having your diploma in hand is to show employers that you’re able to stick through a commitment, deal with a bunch of crap along the way, and the realization that things are bigger than you, so it’s important not to be so self-important. There seems to be a sense of entitlement here. If one wants to find a challenge, there are no shortage of challenges out in the world today. To say college isn’t/wasn’t challenging enough strikes me as childish. It sounds like the individual then was either too lazy or too stupid, and frankly, either distinction speaks poorly to their character.

If you’re not challenged enough through the courses themselves, you should have no problem meeting the most minimal requirements and graduating. If that’s genuinely not challenging enough (and it’s great if that’s the case, though I suspect there are fewer geniuses in this study than those purporting to be), go beyond the classroom and/or take different courses you’re interested in and would be challenging. This all sounds like a convenient excuse to dismiss one’s failures while maintaining a superior, smug sense of oneself.

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Boise St. Player Forgets to Duck, Suspended Duck to Visit Quack

Remember playing youth sports as a kid? Sportsmanship was supposedly more important than winning at all costs, and to enforce that ideal, players would shake the hands of the opponent before or after the game. And nothing ever went wrong because of it! Sure, parents screamed at coaches, referees, each other, and small children with poor athletic skill and even worse self-esteem; and yes, coaches would subtly encourage players to “stand up” for teammates with physical retribution–but it was all in the name of sportsmanship! Fights and bush-league plays meant to injure never occurred.  That’s why I’m stunned these lessons haven’t worked in the NCAA. The handshake means issues are settled before they begin, and that’s exactly why the NCAA now require players to shake hands with opponents.

Just about the only saving grace to the Oregon vs. Boise St. game last night was the after-party. After four quarters of sloppy, Pop-Warner-style football, frustrations were at their peak. The game was expected to be a high-scoring affair, with two of last year’s most prolific offenses shooting it out in the rematch of a hotly contested game from 2008 (Boise St. won 37-32). Boise St. again came out on top, defeating Oregon by a score of 19-8. Thank goodness for the after-party. Oregon RB LeGarrette Blount didn’t take kindly to Boise DL Byron Hout’s taunt, insult and shoulder slap. How does he respond? BOOM!

Did you see that?! That was easily the best part of the game! Blount has been suspended for the rest of the season, and will likely require therapy sessions, community service and possibly a small bit of jail time if assault charges are filed. No one is excusing Blount’s actions but frankly, I don’t feel all that badly for Hoyt. You taunt and talk shit to a lunatic, there’s a decent chance you’ll get punched. Just stupid. Man, he went down like a bitch! More stupid–fans in the stands trying to start a fight with Blount? Have you seen that guy? He’s enormous, violent, and really, at that point, had nothing to lose. Just shake hands, guys. Problem solved.

President Madagascar, A Man in Brazil is Coughing!

My sister recently discovered that all of her roommates are infected with the dreaded Swine Flu. My mother, needless to say, is terrified that her daughter will contract the virus and die within minutes. Nevermind that my sister is a healthy 23-year-old with access to some of the best hospitals in the world (Duke Medical, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest), and of an estimated 1,000 individuals infected with the virus, 40 will be hospitalized and only one will die. Then again, my sister also has the distinction of being the only person  allergic to most organic food. Another reason to support Glenn Bleck and his zest to bring back DDT! I have the same reaction toward people who wear hemp, have dreadlocks, and find patchouli an amenable scent. Perhaps it’s genetic. In my sister’s case, this one quality, however, does not justify the hysteria of impending doom.

So, let’s ask ourselves who we know that has died from respiratory failure, via swine flu? Still thinking? NO ONE! There is a slightly higher probability than winning the lottery, but let’s not mistaken this for a common occurrence, unless you work at the CDC or certain state-level hospitals. The people most likely to become ill and die are very small children, whose immune systems haven’t fully developed, and the elderly, whose immune systems are no longer strong enough to fight infections. Like any disease or predator (I’m onto your tricks, you lions chasing wounded antelope out there), this is the natural order of things. It’s unfortunate that Grandma has swine flu and will die, meaning bingo night and knitting parties will be a little less fun, but hey, that’s the way these things go. Have any idea how many people today died of cancer, auto accidents, AIDS or heart disease? Hundreds of thousands. Just a little sense of perspective.

This swine flu is just a different strain of the regular flu. Look at the symptoms: fever, cough, body aches, chills, headache, lethargy and weakness, etc. I feel like I’m watching the local news teases. “Find out what horrible thing you can do nothing about is killing all your loved ones! We’ll be right back after this break.” The answer? Death, just plain old death.

I realize that the 24-hour news media considers stories of this nature, where humans react irrationally and panic, to be of paramount importance. They’re not. I also acknowledge that the news media cover such stories because they garner more viewers, hence more advertising dollars. The media plays a cyclical, dangerous game in these instances. They justify running the same pieces, with different analysts saying roughly the same things, under the guise that people want to know, and therefore, it is their responsibility to provide that information. However, the psychological impact it does to the majority of people heighten the irrational fear, and the news organizations, knowing it’s good for business, do nothing to downplay the unjustified fears. Ultimately, if people were to do more research and not rely so heavily on  24-hour news organizations–which we’ve established have their own business-based agendas to propagate a sense of panic–we might have a healthier population. Why not focus more collective energy on illnesses and diseases that affect far more individuals, and have a more serious cost to society? The only thing worse than ignorance is willful ignorance. 

 

By the way, there's a good chance humans spread this to pigs, not vice versa.

By the way, there's a good chance humans spread this to pigs, not vice versa.

HouseCare and the Phenomenon of Poor People

I’m not sure why I continue to log onto Facebok at this point. I never learn anything insightful about the people I’m “friends” with. The posts typically range from “my son ate spaghetti and it got EVERYWHERE,” to “find out which toilet seat cover you most resemble!” to “Save Darfur, Tibet, and some other countries I care enough to post about on my Facebook, but do nothing about in the real world.”

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Patience: Good things come to those who wait.

The only saving grace to Facebooking is that on occasion, some skanky girl I barely know will post photos of her getting intoxicated and making lewd gestures with minimal clothing. It’s more fun to masturbate to people you’ve met before. It’s even better if you wrap bacon strips around your penis! 

Anyway, the latest Facebook craze involves taking a stand against the health care system in this country! The post in question:

“No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.”

To those posting that health care stuff–you’re right! If we die because we can’t afford health care, or we’re broke because we’re sick, we can’t buy more things made by people who have less health care  and higher mortality rates than us. We’re not being selfish or taking for granted what we have as Americans; we’re concerned about the well-being of poor people making useless things for people too involved in their own lives to care. 

I know one thing–if we figure out how to make health care more efficient and available for all Americans (I’m looking at you, Christian Scientists), we’re going to really make it difficult for the writers of House. Priorities, people.

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Not impressed with Facebook shenanigans.

 

The Chain Gang

I used to work at a chain restaurant. Every now and then I’d see someone pick up a job application and watch as they puzzlingly read the “Are you looking for a place to belong?” catch phrase. Having looked around at my coworkers, I couldn’t discern any noticeable hiring requirements. Did they even belong? Fear not, potential workers of this strange industry; I’m here to help you determine if you’d belong.

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College students and college graduates with degrees in art history, psychology or English:

Have you potentially wasted four years of money and time on a field you are passionate about? Are you really broke? Are you looking for an unskilled job where you can make up to $30 an hour waiting on hordes of elderly, the great unwashed and clueless mouth-breathers? Are you capable of participating in Machiavellian politics and initiating senseless drama rivaling that of high school? Do you feel a strange need to form entangling alliances and recreate World War I politics while carrying hot food? If so, a local chain-restaurant is looking for you!

Outcasts and poor communicators:

Are you combative and lack the social skills needed to communicate with co-workers, thus ensuring tensions always run red hot? Can you put food in a microwave, turn a steak with tongs or a drop a basket into hot oil? Are you able to put dishes through a machine and then stack them on a shelf? Is the hostility of a prison something you’d like to recreate at a job once you begin parole?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, apply today!

It’s been said that college is more about the overall experience of going out, meeting people, gaining maturity and job skills than it is about attending classes and writing papers. If this is the case, I highly recommend looking for a job at a local chain restaurant–even any restaurant, for that matter. The combination of ineptitude, cyclical feuding and the camaraderie of serving patrons who make your life a living hell is something to be cherished over those formative collegiate years.