Three months ago, I posed for my college graduation photo—the official one in front of an American flag, diploma in hand, ready to face the world. Since then the photography company has emailed me almost weekly, offering discount upon discount and before-it's-too-lates. But when the picture was taken, just seconds after I had crossed the stage and shaken hands, I was too delirious to smile, so instead I bit my lower lip. I mean I almost swallowed it. I don't know how it happened. Normally, I have no trouble smiling. But I remember at that moment that the muscles would not contract into a casual, triumphant smile, that my [...]
"I think that nobody can say, 'I'm going to use stream-of-consciousness as my method for writing.' That's-that's wrong. He'd get into trouble. He must use that simply as a tool, only when nothing else will do the work. It's much better to show the character in familiar terms of-of action, of speech, but sometimes that's not sufficient. Then you have to use another tool, just as at times the carpenter realizes that his familiar tool is not quite enough to do what he wants to do, so he's got to stop and make something, make a tool…" -That's William Faulkner, lecturing at University of Virginia's Rouss Hall on [...]
This is pretty embarrassing, but one night, when I was a freshman in college, my friend Todd and I got so high from smoking pot that we thought we could read each other's minds. We were in my room doing too many bong hits and one of us (I'll take responsibility, though I don't remember for sure) had the brilliant idea of, "What would happen if we drank the bongwater?" I know: yuck: we might as well have eaten used cigarette butts. But this is the state we'd put ourselves in.
"Since at least January, Tim, a gay 22-year-old senior at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa, has been recording himself masturbating, and uploading the videos to Xtube…. Among those photos is a series of him in University of Hawaii classrooms, snapped in January-February…. the University's Twitter account posted this campus warning: 'if you see 'Hawaii Speedo Student' on campus, do not approach him–call Campus Security.' Now, he's an outlaw. Or at least a wild mountain lion roaming campus looking for prey."
If you are considering going to college (which, from where I'm sitting now, looks like a big fat waste of five-and-a-half years) you should major in engineering of some sort. According to a pretty unreliable "thing found on the Internet," seven out of the top ten undergraduate degrees by salary are in engineering. Surprisingly, sitting only 20 spots lower, a philosophy degree (stupid, Dave!) will supposedly earn you more than business administration, business management and advertising. Twenty spots lower than that, journalism languishes below nursing, English and agriculture. But just above forestry. Which will probably be incorrect by the time you read this.
Sorry for telling you what I was thinking about when you asked me what I was thinking about.
Dear visiting music professor who taught History of Jazz at Connecticut College spring semester 1990:
I'm sorry for comparing Miles Davis' Kind of Blue to Bob Seger's "Turn the Page."
It was just a white split-level a stone's throw from dorms on Duke University's East Campus, indistinct from the other worn-down frat pads littered throughout Durham. It had an iron-wrought railing that curved into leafy shapes, and behind that was a door with a metal knocker. The shutters were black and the roof was grey. But what set it apart was its address-a street number that conjured up a remembrance of the salacious accusations, the media frenzy and the turbulent bouts of protest. Today 610 N. Buchanan Road-the center of the Duke Lacrosse scandal that erupted in March 2006-was destroyed.
This is fascinating: a professor goes back to meet a student he failed for plagiarizing. (Her plagiarism was direct and outright, copying a paper directly.) Because he thought the consequences were too extreme, and the college system too regimented ("over and over I saw how the nature of the institution and its agents reduced the complexity of student experience to neat bureaucratic decision tree") she was the only student he ever punished for plagiarism.
NCAA basketball "March Madness" is on-beginning today, a host of institutions of higher education compete for bragging rights and an incremental boost in income from licensed-merchandise sales. But Awl readers know that the real champion school is the one that can charge the most tuition a year and still attract a robust student body to rock the all-important school rankings. Using the figures provided by college information resource Peterson's, I ran the NCAA tournament bracket by tuition. (In the case of state university system schools, the lower, in-state tuition is used.) It was a barnburner.
Dear riders of the Powell-Mason cable car line in San Francisco, late summer 1991,
Sorry for flashing you.
Dear person who lived next to Kris Friendly in Harkness at Connecticut College during the fall semester of 1989,
I'm sorry for calling you at 2:30 in the morning on a Tuesday and asking you to knock on Kris's door and tell him he had an important call.
I'm sorry I ate your carrot cake.
We were at college, and living off campus in the house on Bragaw Street. You had bought the cake earlier that day, when we'd all gone to Super Stop n' Shop for groceries. You'd paid for it separately and left it in the fridge while you went to an afternoon class. But our roommate Scott and I didn't have afternoon classes that day. Or if we did, we decided to skip them and stay home and smoke pot instead. Whatever the case, we stayed home while you were out and smoked pot. I got hungry, on account of the pot [...]
I think for a while we've all had a sense that there was a problem in our schools. Poor test scores, failing public schools, achievement gaps, all that bad stuff. We know that the Internet has made it impossible for young Americans, people barely eligible to vote while playing the lottery in a strip club, to "grasp that using words they did not write is a serious misdeed." In other words, we are not good at cheating anymore.
In another "shocking news to no one" research project, The Delta Cost Project discovered definitive proof of what everyone in world has been thinking since the 1950's. The report, "Trends in College Spending 1998-2008 [PDF]," concluded that colleges and universities from all over the country are literally throwing money at high end student centers and methods of increasing "comfortability" for students (and we mean literally, like administrators are actually having huge money fights). The story has been picked up by news-soup extraordinaire The Huffington Post who linked it to a New York Times article trying to explain the, ya' know, frivolousness of American higher education. [...]
I can't say for certain, but there is an excellent chance I have been, behind my back, erroneously labeled a lacrosstitute.
I say "lacrosstitute" because that is the epithet of choice for a girl in a sundress who, for whatever reason, chooses of her own free will to consort with a bunch of louche loudmouths in Hawaiian print board shorts and mesh practice pinnies that announce "SUNS OUT, GUNS OUT" and cover neither chest hair nor beer guts (both being marks of proud distinction among their bearers).