It’s September again, and for the men, women, and children still toiling in academia, that means the fall semester is starting up. To those of you who are just entering or are now returning to high school, you have my condolences. If it’s any consolation, four years is pretty short if you think of it in terms of the lifetime of a star. To those of you heading off to college, congratulations! Please take this opportunity to forget all of your standardized test scores, because no one gives a shit about how you did on the SAT anymore. Also, good luck with your relationship. I know a lot of couples break up when they go away to college, but you two are different; you’re gonna make it. I can tell. To those of you finishing your degree or entering graduate school I’ll see you either at the bar or face-down in a gutter surrounded by annotated journal articles and empty bottles of hobo wine, and finally, to those of you who’ve recently completed the book learnin’ phase of your life, good luck in the proverbial “real world.” The job market’s gonna turn around soon, just keep the faith. Absolute worst case scenario, there’s always someone out there willing to pay for a mouth to fuck or an anus to hide cocaine in. Or vice versa.
Let’s begin with high school. Many people look back on these years nostalgically, remembering them as some of the best they’ve had. These people have shitty lives, and should seriously consider faking their own death and starting over. There is nothing about high school that makes it any more significant than middle school before it, or elementary school before that. Every day you report to hypervigilant chaperones who guide you through the often-referenced-but-rarely-defined “curriculum” of basic sciences and overrated literature. ESPECIALLY overrated literature. I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: I fucking hate the Catcher In the Rye. I don’t want to discuss it, I don’t want to give it a second chance, and I don’t want to hear about the rich metaphors or relatable coming of age story. I hate it and J.D. Salinger should feel bad about that. Or whatever the equivalent emotion is for people who are already dead. Decomposition I guess.
After high school, many people choose to pursue a degree of so called “higher learning.” College is the first real opportunity many young men and women have to leave the nest and fend for themselves. Free to pursue a major more suited to one’s personal interests than “introductory everything,” many late bloomers finally come into their own in this environment. Many others drink themselves to death, develop a drug addiction, get pregnant, and/or wind up in jail. Possibly all four in one night if you’re especially clever about it. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that when given free reign, a certain percentage of the population will immediately wrap those reigns around their throat, set themselves on fire, and jump from the highest point they can find. One of the first lessons to be learned at college is how to identify these people, and where to stand so as to avoid area of effect damage. These are not so much fellow students as they are people-shaped sacks filled with a heady mix of napalm, AIDS, and cop pheromone. Fun to watch, smart to watch from a distance.
Upon completion of this fairly standard course of schooling, some students choose to pursue further education. These “grad students” are an interesting group with a wide variety of motivations. Some choose to work towards one profession in particular, and hope to attain a higher level of academic enlightenment in pursuit of this goal. Others look upon their future with uncertainty and trepidation, and so return to the safety of college in hopes of delaying the inevitable. Some just want to continue drinking heavily and plowing freshman sluts without it being considered socially abhorrent behavior. No matter what brings the student back into the realm of expensive books and extensive busy work, or which field he or she has chosen to specialize in, it’s only a matter of time before the ultimate realization sets in: I’m somebody’s bitch. It’s alright, just remain calm and let it sink in a bit. If it makes you feel any better, you’ve been somebody’s bitch all along. It’s just harder to recognize in a lecture hall of 300 than in a lab of 4 where your job is “beaker decontamination supervisor,” or “culture incubation monitoring drone #3.” Just thank god you weren’t designated “commissioner of knob gobbling,” get your stupid degree, and get the fuck out.
No matter which path you choose for your journey, the destination is of course to finally acquire a “grown up job,” which can best be summed up as: “I like having money. But I’m really lazy.” Apparently it’s not acceptable to live in your mom’s basement writing fanfiction for /y/ of Kirk and Spock handling the daily business of the Captain’s Log. Not that I would do that if it were, mind you. That’s preposterous. Mine would be about Picard teaching Data to be more human. The wonderful world of gainful employment is harsh and unforgiving; it is constant fight between the forces of “I WANT A NEW LAPTOP” and “I WANT TO SLEEP UNTIL 3 PM”. Jobs are one of the few things in the world that everyone desperately wants to have but wishes they didn’t have to. There are the lucky few who find true joy in their work: the space dinosaur cowboys and condom stress testers of the world. And, of course, Joe Biden. But for every one person getting a paycheck for their dream job, there are another 50 of the straight guy toiling away writing the penis detection software for Chatroulette. That’s right, all the hard work you’ve put into your entire academic career up to this point builds up to filing TPS reports and figuring out how to read Reddit covertly, so that your boss doesn’t notice that your output is only simulated productivity, and that’s just an imgur link, not actually the Q3 projections. Congratu-fucking-lations.
We give School a whole lot of excessive drinking that’s probably only hindering the overall learning experience.