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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Every student’s worst nightmare

    Justyn DillinghamEditor-in-Chief
    Justyn Dillingham

    No matter how much enthusiasm one might bring to one’s first year at university, all students must eventually begin to wonder if they will spend their entire lives in college.

    At first this doesn’t seem so frightening. After all, the alternative is finding a job and entering the real world. Compared to that, even the least study-minded student wisely regards college as a lark to be drawn out as long as possible.

    Most students, having heard that university is a haven where you get to live on your own, pick your own classes and join mysterious clubs with impressive-sounding Greek names, eagerly look forward to the experience. After four years of high school, college is like a drink of fresh, clean water.

    But finals time reminds us that college is hard. It’s one thing to spend four years sitting through lectures – some dull, some interesting. It’s another thing to experience finals crunch eight times in a row.

    Those of us addicted to changing our majors every two semesters know that an even bleaker prospect lies ahead for us. When people ask that dreaded question, “”So what year are you?”” we can only shrug our shoulders and give a vague, airy sort of answer along the lines of “”I’m just interested in too many things.””

    We hope to be mistaken for dedicated scholars, but really we’re only indecisive. Yet only the most indecisive among us who will get to tackle the ominous question that floats through every student’s mind at one point: What would it be like to spend your entire life in college?

    Would it really be so bad? After all, it’d be a shrewd way to put off paying back your student loans. You might leave behind a severely impoverished estate and leave your grandchildren paying bills until President Jenna Bush plunges us into a pre-emptive nuclear war with Switzerland, but at least you’d be the cleverest man in the cemetery.

    How long would it take before you ran out of classes? I was unable to find out exactly how many classes are being taught in the upcoming semester (and if you think I’m going to go through the catalog and count them, you’ve got another thing coming), but let’s say there are about 1,000. If you took a full schedule of five classes a semester, you’d be in college for 100 years!

    Of course, this doesn’t take into account the fact that new classes are added every semester. Like the hapless hero of a Kafka novel, our poor hypothetical student would spend his entire life trying to finish college, only to see the goal receding even as he approached it.

    Eventually, our hero might be driven mad by the sheer tedium of sitting through every single class in the catalog and start to believe that he had actually reached his goal. While he would no longer attend classes, he wouldn’t leave the university because he would have long since ceased to be capable of surviving in the real world, or even remembering that there was a real world.

    He would end his days wandering about the campus, decked out in a tramp’s regalia, buttonholing random people and wheezing: “”Once I was the worst student in the school! Now look at me, lad! I’m the only one who ever made it all the way through!””

    Sadly, this gloomy scenario I’ve set up is not entirely hypothetical. There are indeed many unfortunate people who, through bad choices they made in their youth, have condemned themselves to spend their lives in college.

    Every semester, they are condemned to repeat the same classes, the same lessons, the same exams. And every year, even while most of them gain a better grasp of their subjects, the other occupants of the classroom grow more and more foolish.

    These poor souls deserve all the sympathy we can give them. We can learn from their mistakes and vow never to repeat them. They’re called teachers.

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