Higher education - what is it good for?

jmervyn

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Well, it's happened. Boyo Merv is going off to university, meaning I'll be an empty nester within the year. Mother Merv & I pushed pretty hard for him to attend Marist, but he has his heart set on Colby in Maine.

Now, I wouldn't have known Marist from Podunk University until I started seeing their name show up on some FOX news polling. I've still never heard of Colby in professional context, but Teh Interwebz indicates it's top of the top of the top. He believes that the holy name of Colby will magically open professional doors later in life that Marist never could, even though he would have been out of Marist an entire year earlier & been able to use all the AP courses he's accumulated over the past several years.

I told boyo that your high school grades only matter until your first year of university, which only matters until your first job performance review.

What say the OTF?
 

Noodle

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This is really funny. I'm a Colby grad, class of 1991. Bates and Bowdoin can suck it.
 

jmervyn

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This is really funny. I'm a Colby grad, class of 1991. Bates and Bowdoin can suck it.
OMG! PPPPLLLEEAASEE tell me my son's not going to go nuts from the isolation & start drinking as heavily as I do!

Well, nobody would probably drink as heavily as I do. But on a serious note, how bad is the isolation?

He's literally going to be going into college loan debt in his Sophomore year, even if it's only a little, so he won't have a lot of cash to hang with rich Boston kids.

EDIT - for clarity, we drove up but the campus was already closed due to COVID quarantine, so he never had a chance to do more than walk around & met a single (Russian language?) teacher.
 
Mar 14, 2020
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I went to an isolated university. There was nothing to do but drink hard liquor(the Beer Store was on strike), fight Indians and Frenchies, and Fuck.
 

LozHinge the Unhinged

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Are we concerned that our fledgings, having left the nest, will have their brains slowly scrambled and destroyed by zealous and politically motivated activist-professors?

Or is that not a real thing?
 

Noodle

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OMG! PPPPLLLEEAASEE tell me my son's not going to go nuts from the isolation & start drinking as heavily as I do!

Well, nobody would probably drink as heavily as I do. But on a serious note, how bad is the isolation?

He's literally going to be going into college loan debt in his Sophomore year, even if it's only a little, so he won't have a lot of cash to hang with rich Boston kids.

EDIT - for clarity, we drove up but the campus was already closed due to COVID quarantine, so he never had a chance to do more than walk around & met a single (Russian language?) teacher.

There was a lot of drinking when I was there, which was tacitly accepted if not encouraged by the administration. My first week there as an incoming freshman, the dean of students hosted an open bar cocktail party for freshman. Obviously he knew 99% of the attendees were underage. I was also amazed that as an 18 year old I could have a keg of beer in a dorm lounge as long as I signed something accepting responsibility if anything got damaged. There are chem-free dorms, but I didn't know anyone who lived in one.

There's plenty to do aside from drinking, though. Sugarloaf mountain is about 30 - 45 minutes away, and has good (although COLD) skiing. When Johnson Pond freezes over, they smooth out the ice, put up lights, and bring out a warming hut with a wood burning stove. I can't skate worth a damn, but still had a lot of fun playing pickup hockey games. I also got involved with the campus radio station, WMHB, hosting a show from 8:00 - 11:00 every Tuesday morning my sophomore year. The nice thing about a small school is that you can pretty much get involved in whatever you'd like to.

Your son will likely LOVE Bonnie's Diner for weekend breakfasts and Big G's deli for sandwiches.

I didn't have a car while I was there, which wasn't really an issue as the school runs shuttle (the Jitney) to drive students around town for free. I've even gotten free rides back to campus from off campus parties at 3:00 AM from Safety and Security without question. The only time I really wished I had a car was senior year when I lived about two miles off campus - I don't recommend that, but he'll be on campus for at least the first few years.

I loved my time at Colby, and if he or you have any questions I'd love to pass on my experience. Glad to welcome another Fightin' White Mule!
 
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LozHinge the Unhinged

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With Colby, is there not a worry over killer clowns, buried spaceships, Springheel Jack, vampires, evil store owners, outsized rabid dogs and uh, No.1 Biggest Fans?

Just curious.
 

jmervyn

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I loved my time at Colby, and if he or you have any questions I'd love to pass on my experience. Glad to welcome another Fightin' White Mule!
I WILL take you up on that offer.

Are we concerned that our fledgings, having left the nest, will have their brains slowly scrambled and destroyed by zealous and politically motivated activist-professors?

Or is that not a real thing?
I'm only concerned coincidentally about creeping Progressivism (similar to rising damp).

Boyo has as strong a personality as I do, but he's got a worse temper & is unfortunately typical of Generation Zero's short attention span. He's actually more of a Democrat than I, while understanding the hard Leftist frequently nasty & insane nature, so I expect I did my parenting job well enough. He's not as good of a bull artist as he thinks he is, but he's probably good enough to get past University PC Police and chirp the appropriate platitudes if he encounters bigotry in a professor.

Mostly it's that he's decided to cut the apron strings (as I intended all along) but has decided to dive off the deep end and into what from my understanding is an elite New England private university. The closest he ever got to summer camp was a 2-week undergrad business degree from Marist, so we don't think he realizes just how isolated he potentially can feel.

I know what being the poor little rich kid is actually like, when your classmates are snorting cocaine, going to AC/DC concerts, and getting laid while you've got to play AD&D at home because you don't have two quid.

EDIT - all that stuff you mentioned is actually just at the plain old University of Maine. Including the wizard who brings a huge storm & demands a child to raise.
 

Noodle

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Ah, U Maine at Orono . . . my senior year, that's where my rugby team ended up second in New England in the Spring Tournament, beating the Coast Guard Academy in an upset. We ended up losing to the University of New Hampshire. We partied there that night before someone drove us home to Waterville. Somehow we ended up with a canoe on top of our van. No idea where it came from, but we enjoyed it for a couple months. Good times.
 
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LozHinge the Unhinged

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Ah, U Maine at Orono . . . my senior year, that's where my rugby team ended up second in New England in the Spring Tournament, beating the Coast Guard Academy in an upset. We ended up losing to the University of New Hampshire. We partied there that night before someone drove us home to Waterville. Somehow we ended up with a canoe on top of our van. No idea where it came from, but we enjoyed it for a couple months. Good times.

Alternative Theory: Was it actually your van?
 

jmervyn

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Alternative Theory: Was it actually your van?
Good thing they weren't stopped by a strange-looking Sheriff with mirrored glasses or anything...

 

jmervyn

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A new question: Boyo is extremely proud of being selected as a "Pulver Scholar" which is apparently a new-ish program.

However, any financial support the program includes is very much a grey area; there's reference to $3000 for working at the University but it doesn't seem like he actually keeps the money; his cost for attendance is raised by $3000 and a job "guaranteed" but it's apparently not always science-related. It also seems like it's unrelated to the Pulver program itself.

Is this the sort of socialist-style labor many Universities have where he'll be working in the cafeteria or housekeeping? I'm certain jobs in the surrounding area are as scarce as hens' teeth, but he had thought he'd be a research assistant or something.
 
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He will probably be placed in a research lab as an intern and be brought in on some basic supervised research project. An RA(there are various levels of Research Assistants) is usually has a masters or sometimes even a PHD with some years of lab experience. He would probably just learn lab safety and then be put in charge of washing glassware and emptying waste hazard bins. It's a foot in the door that may be invaluable in latter years if there is a lab placement for grad students.
 

Noodle

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Is this the sort of socialist-style labor many Universities have where he'll be working in the cafeteria or housekeeping? I'm certain jobs in the surrounding area are as scarce as hens' teeth, but he had thought he'd be a research assistant or something.

I would be shocked if that tuned out to be the case. I knew a few students who were on financial aid while I was there, and the worst job any of them had was pulling beers in the on campus pub. I'm pretty sure they asked for those positions - one of them was a friend, and he primarily worked there so a few of us could hang out after hours and drink beer and shoot pool for free. (The pub manager would hang out with us as well.) In this specific case, where they only select ten people a year who have demonstrated superior science knowledge and skills, I'm confident they're not looking for a menial laborer. They'd be much more likely to hire local people for that - the whole point of the program from a strategic perspective is to improve their science programs to make them more competitive in recruiting (both students and faculty) and fund raising, which they're not likely to be successful in if they don't manage it correctly.

Two things to keep in mind - Colby is a college, not a university. It has no graduate degrees, so there aren't grad students lording it over undergrads and having them do the grunt work. It's also very small - with the popular junior year abroad program, only about 1,200 students are on campus at any given time. The students are truly focused on and encouraged to be students. It's a real strength that is very difficult to quantify or accurately describe. For example, my Advanced Statistical Research Methods class had two students, and when the other guy was out for a couple months with mono, it was literally just the professor and I. It was a boring subject but a phenomenal experience. The point I'm trying to make is that it's a night and day difference from an impersonal factory-style university with tens of thousands of students.
 
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jmervyn

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Thanks for that.

Boyo's had another bright idea which may turn out for the better... he'd been accepted **AS A TRANSFER** to Cornell, but not as a freshman. Given what a dog's breakfast the Wuhan Flu epidemic has made of things, he's thinking he can nearly get an associate's degree in one of the NY community colleges essentially for free, & then finish a 4-year at Cornell. He'd pay more with this scheme in the last two years but potentially less in the full term, which allows for potentially more support from me & perhaps less time paying interest.

Our main concern with Colby was that he had no support nearby & would be isolated on a campus a day's drive away, coming out (hopefully) in 4 years with a BA (probably in biology). The reason we liked Marist was because his nearly 60 AP credits would all count (and only a few would count for Colby), and he could start working towards a MA or MS while living at home.

EDIT - We finally brow-beat boyo into making a clear decision on Cornell. He HAD wanted to start at Colby & then transfer to Cornell, which as far as I could see was an utter waste of money.

Seems like many universities & colleges are going to have virtual classes in the Fall, yet charge full tuition.
 
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