The College Scam
“Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason toward my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings” ~ Patrick Henry.
I open with this terrific quote in order to justify what I’m about to write. I am writing what I know is right, and I won’t allow the “fear of giving offense” to stop me (not that it ever has).
My decision has been made. Actually, I suppose it has been made for quite some time now. I have no mixed feelings about the matter. I'm thrilled to share with you that I will be finishing my degree in Israel.
I’m not staying in Israel for reasons that many people would like me to stay. I’m not staying because I’m in love with the state of Israel. On the contrary, I find their government to be intrusive, keen on making life unpleasant, and highly unbearable (I’m fully aware that this is the nature of any government, but they seem to try harder than most). The amount of bureaucracy that has infiltrated all levels of life in Israel, particularly in academia, is why I have no plans of living here after college. (Although the fact that I came to Israel in the first place and ended up staying for far longer than I thought I would is highly revealing).
My decision may baffle some. As a few of you may know, I was granted generous musical and academic scholarships. I was offered chances to study at prestigious academic institutions. The very best of the musical and academic world were within my reach. While they gave me a very much not needed ego boost, I recognized those feelings for what they were: just feelings; certainly nothing to base an important decision on. The worst mistakes I’ve made (and I suspect it isn’t just me) are the ones I’ve made while entirely emotional. After this realization, I dedicated myself to thinking strictly rationally about college and put no emphasis on any glamour of a particular institution. The rest of this read will guide you through my various considerations and how regardless of which angle I looked at it from, they all provided the same answer.
Firstly, I’m not writing this in order to convince you that this is the best choice for everyone. Although what follows is a general critique of American universities, I understand that what’s best for me is not best for everyone else. I don’t believe that everybody should follow the same path, and I’m not so insecure as to need others to validate me by making the same choices that I do. That being said, what follows is a short and general critique of academic institutions that I believe have very little left to offer.
Academically, there’s no doubt in my mind that any of the universities I was accepted to would offer me more potential academic growth than the current college I’m in. JCT couldn’t possibly compete with the likes of an American university’s resources and graduate programs. But at the end of the day, the courses taught in universities are almost all standardized. The computer science degree I’m taking here is almost exactly the same among all colleges, private and public. Furthermore, I’m more than capable of teaching myself, as I did throughout high school. When I want to learn something, I do. Even 15 years ago this may not have been true, but currently there is no information that is taught at universities that can’t be found online, typically of excellent or better quality and more often than not, free of charge. I am convinced that I will get no worse of an education in Israel than in America.
Financially, I could have made any of the options work. Due to the scholarships, cheap interest rates, and the ever-rising inflation rates, I could have taken out student loans and not lost too much sleep over them. But are the education and opportunities provided at a prestigious school worth tens of thousands of dollars a year? Not a chance. College is not what it once was. It used to be a place where the best minds competed and excellence was measured in ability. No longer. Even the connections that you could count on making at an esteemed university are dwindling. Colleges no longer seek out the smartest and brightest students. They make SAT scores optional to give them more leeway to admit subpar students. That is, students who no longer meet the “traditional” requirements. Not only is this bad for the schools, but it also hurts students who are set up to fail by a system that places them in academically rigorous universities that they aren't prepared for. As a result, the people you meet today at an elite school are no longer elite students. For better or for worse, this trend has tarnished the reputations of even the most prestigious schools.
In 1960 you could attend Harvard for less than $1000 dollars a year. Now, you’ll pay upwards of $50,000. What more do they offer now than they did in 1960? I’d say they offer far less. So if it’s not the people or the education, why do people still fall for this scam? Perhaps they haven’t fully realized just how much colleges have changed, but I think that many are under the delusion that having your name underneath a school logo is going to make you successful. The world is quickly changing to adapt to the increasing uselessness of a university degree. Work that was once near the bottom end of the payroll (plumbers, truckers, electricians, etc.) now wildly outperforms a typical college graduate with a degree in the arts. I appreciate art; I love music. But I have no plans of making a career of it and it makes no sense to pay enormous sums of money to spend years of my life working for something I consider a serious hobby. I just don’t see what colleges have to offer anymore. As Elon Musk said, “colleges are for fun and to prove that you could do your chores, but they are not for learning.”
Furthermore, colleges are no longer the beacon of science and rationality that they once were. Physical diversity is championed by colleges while diversity of thought is not even a consideration, often vilified. Truth can only come through dialogue. Discussion involves disagreement. No truth can come from an institution where those in it are scared to speak their mind if their political view is not "correct". What once were the centers of thought of the western world are now egotistical echo chambers of the delusional. You would be hard-pressed to find a college student who can give a coherent definition of a woman. I’d have to be highly intoxicated before you could convince me to study science at any institution that openly believes that there exists a pregnant man. As usual, Thomas Sowell puts it best: “In a democracy, we have always had to worry about the ignorance of the uneducated. Today we have to worry about the ignorance of people with college degrees.”
On these issues, JCT far outperforms American colleges. However, at the root of the matter I chose Israel over an American university because I want to belong to a community that values a man for his contribution to the world, not for what the world has taken from him. I don’t have the faintest desire to join a community that believes that the sum of a human is his skin complexion and sexual whims. Additionally, and very much related, college campuses are infamous for the glorification of tremendously harmful and dangerous activities. I’m not worried that I would ever fall to such levels of depravity -depravity that characterizes life at a university- because I wouldn’t. I have never been one to do something just because everybody else is doing it. At the same time, I do understand that in some small way the people I surround myself with do define me. I want no part of that lifestyle defining me.
I don't know where my life will take me. I can't predict. A year ago I was under the spell of college elitism. At the time I would have said that I would go to the best college I could get into. My experience with applying to the universities, the musical applications, in particular, woke me up from that fantasy. It was quite jarring to find out that my pronouns are of more importance than my musical ability. I (and many others) put a lot of time and effort into submitting the best applications I could muster together to apply to an institution I now consider a joke. I'm a worse predictor of my fate than many others so I'm not going to say where I'll be in 5 years, or even 1. Who knows what's next, but one thing's for sure: I will never stop thinking for myself.
I want to wrap up by thanking you. If you’ve gotten this far you probably care for me, you’d have to in order to get through that. I know that most won’t see things the way I do (that is, correctly (: ) and those who agree with my decision probably do so for other reasons. I have tremendous appreciation for all of the support and advice I’ve received from family and friends. I wouldn’t be able to do this without you. Looking forward to an incredible future with all of you!
May 05, 2022