Dear College Student,

The world owes you NOTHING!

I know, I know, you’ve been told your whole life that you’re the best at everything.  But take a second and think about it…

  • When you were in that Soccer league and everyone got a trophy, that was just the adults feeling bad about their childhood.  They just wanted you to feel good.  You really didn’t win anything.
  • When you were in Jr. High and you begged your chemistry teacher to give you extra credit, or curb your grade, they didn’t really care about you.  They just didn’t want to feel bad about failing you and dealing with your parents.  (Cause you know your parents were calling about your grades so you could get into the best High School.)
  • When you were in High School, and the Rugby Team let you on.  Try to think.  How many people did the team REALLY cut.  Sure you made the team, but for what?  Were you really a good player, or was the coach trying to let all kids find a sport? (and insulate himself from screaming parents.)

Look, in the wake of the Oklahoma Wesley President’s comments, I think we’ve now crossed the line into honesty.  If someone really cares about you, they’ll sit you down and tell you the truth, no matter how hard it is to communicate.

1.) Today’s Higher Education Model is Failing You.

Just do the math.  Unless your parents have saved their whole lives, or have jobs that pay in the top 5% of American standard of living; you’re going to graduate with an enormous amount of debt.  I know, I know, you want the “College Experience” but let’s just be honest here.  To get a bunch of people to go to a football game and drink may cost you $500 MAX.  And you’ll be paying that amount by the day while you’re slaving away in some class that you don’t care about.

Look, unless you’re set on some professional degree, take a step back and evaluate life . There’s a lot of ways to get on the on ramp of vocation, and maybe you should just wait a bit until you know what you’re gifted to do.  I promise, University has been there for a long time.  It’s not going anywhere.  There is certainly a need for higher education, and in a lot of cases will help you engage with issues you want to be associated with.

2.)  Stop Trying to make Education About Your Feelings

I know, I know, I sympathize with you.  We’ve created a culture that caters to teenagers because we just didn’t know what to do.  We were scared you were going to get pregnant, be addicted to drugs, and throw your middle finger to the family.  So we created a pseudo – Feel – Good environment without really parenting you.

We took all your opinions into account, and centered our lives around what you wanted to do.  We were scared to tell you “no” for fear you were going to run away.  But now that you’re all grown up…guess what?  The world couldn’t care less about how you feel about yourself.

There.

I said it.

When you go to learn at an institution, it’s not about what you feel like in response to the teaching.  The University is set up to challenge what you feel, and help you think.  (An Art we’ve almost lost in America)  You’re supposed to feel uncomfortable in real education.  You’re supposed to challenge ideas, learn to think critically, and ultimately engage in the real world with articulate thought out ideas.

So when a professor says something you don’t agree with, just take it with a grain of salt.  Don’t try to change them.  Try and evaluate the teaching in light of your own life.  Believe me, if I could talk to my 20-year-old self, the first thing I would say to me is, “Sit down.  Shut up.  You don’t know anywhere near as much as you think you do.  So LISTEN!!”

3.)  Check your Ego at the door

Unless you’ve already earned a billion dollars off your new social media app, or you’ve cured Cancer, you’re not as cool as you think. (and even then, you need some time to aggressively evaluate your own ego.)

A little humility goes a long way

If you do a little checking into the lives of successful people, most either inherited their money or had to work like a banshee to figure out how to live.  Nobody sat in their parent’s basement and waited for the lottery to come to them.  It takes a little motivation.  You gotta go out there and risk.  Take some time to figure out what you want to do.  Try stuff.  And when you fail…GOOD!!!  You’ll have a deeper appreciation for the success that will come if you keep working at your dreams.

So when you feel your blood pressure rising that you need to protest your English Literature professor for teaching the historical relevance of Shakespeare.  Just read it.  Take the test.  And get the heck out of the class.  Nobody cares if you stand up and say you feel queasy because Hamlet is thinking about killing his stepfather.  That’s the POINT!  Dealing with literature, history, or uncomfortable political situations like the current refugee issue, the gun control debate, entitlements, and how we want to live in civilization are uncomfortable topics.

WE NEED YOU!!!

We need you to be able to see both sides of an issue.
We need you to be passionate about the issues.
We need you to articulate ideas that will help the next generation.

But we can’t do that if you turn higher education into a YMCA soccer league.

Happy to hear your thoughts…But really, I’m just trying to level with you honestly.

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