For two years, I knew I was in pain, but I couldn’t pinpoint where it hurt.
College is a sea of pain. You see it written clearly on faces of those who literally live off their significant other, of those drown in alcohol and drugs, and of those who shut themselves away watching TV shows, playing computer games, or constantly updating Facebook/Twitter.
I’ve heard countless stories from friends, involving their bedrooms back home being turned into guest rooms. There seems to be no more a “rightful” place for any of us within the social system. Unproductive as we are, we’re left out by society like the old people – they’ve served their term, and we, are not ready.
I’ve heard theories that a college campus is unnatural if judged under an economic perspective. Most of our activities would not fit into the basic “produce-consume” model. Any work assigned to a student is beneficial for one’s personal development and nothing more. In other words, instead of being paid, we pay to do work.
I’ve also heard from most grown ups that feeling rebellious or cynical do not help me at all. “You can’t do anything about it now,” they say. “Don’t fight. Just earn your degree and be done with it.”
But even if I did, I know the pain doesn’t stop.
A question haunts me like venom in my veins, boiling up again and again. When I try to make the deadline and scribble away an essay, when I cram for final exams, when the night falls along with the endless charge of listlessness, this question would always emerge from thin air, screaming in bold.
What is the point?
From what I comprehend, colleges generally serve four major functions (or as they should): they grant us knowledge; they train us for skills; they establish social networks; they fund research programs.
Ironically, at least three out of the four, Internet today does better than traditional colleges. People say Google is your best friend, and we Facebook friends in real time; we Wiki knowledge, and we Tweet news. As long as we continue to collect and distribute information effectively online, perfecting the system as we go, the World Wide Web should soon sufficiently serve all four functions.
So tell me, why do I have to memorize names and terms when they’re just a click away on the Internet?
Why am I trained for research writing skills even though I knew I would not proceed towards professional scholarship?
In this ever rapidly changing world, how could I be prepared for a job that doesn’t exist until after my graduation?
And most of all, what is the point for college – where people party, act silly, pretend to listen in class and leave with heads empty?