I recently found myself sitting in the student union of the college from which I matriculated forty years ago. I got lost in the maze of corridors finding my way; it’s all quite unrecognizable, but the ghost whispers of remembrance conjure vague memories of classes, activities, acquaintances and competitive exchanges. I remember the hierarchy of college authority, an authority based on what one knows, sometimes, but sometimes on pure bravura. Wondering why, why students seek more school whether the commitment is for the pure love of learning, aimed at future employment or just four more years of little responsibility. Maybe it’s the assumption of future success; maybe the belief is, to paraphrase Woody Allen: ” all one needs to do to succeed in life is just show up.”
On this weekend day the campus is mostly deserted. It feels cold and alien despite the big light filled windows, the carpeting and comfortable chairs. Huge public money goes into these edifices, the intention being to produce productive citizens. I wonder if that’s happening.
On the upside, four years of liberal arts education will likely produce more liberal voters.