The college campus is a social system unto itself. We outsiders refer to it as academia. We expect the freedom and funding that academia receives to give us intellectual advances in civilization. We expect the recipients of higher education to be innovative, productive and on the cutting edge of science, technology and the arts.
We acknowledge that the campus is a bubble, an incubator for young, virile minds. We acknowledge that the time one spends within the walls of this bubble should be an educationally worthwhile season. And though we rib with tongue-in-cheek those professors who never leave its enclaves, we give them a pass because they are preparing others to go forth and carry abroad their messages of intellectual freedom and, hopefully, some notion of ethical obligation.
We don’t expect the bubble to become an end in and of itself. We don’t expect the graduate to enter the real world just as mentally and emotionally immature as when they entered the bubble. We are stunned by the outrageous cost of tuition verses the comparatively meager return. We feel sorry for the person holding a bachelor’s degree who can’t find a job because they majored in popular culture or puppetry or theme park management. In short, we expect more from the bubble.
Instead, we get a multitude of college grads who should have saved their (parents’) money. They should have gone to a vocational school. They should have gotten an entry-level job and worked their way up the ladder. They should have nurtured a creative idea and started their own business. They should have, at the very least, taken a year or two off to travel, meet people and figure out what they actually wanted out of life.
Instead, they learned how to view pornography. They learned how to mix drinks. They learned how to hook up. They learned that capitalism is bad, that western civilization is hurtful and that the most productive thing to do with one’s time is to worry about a statue of a man who had slaves and incidentally penned the Declaration of Independence.
The bubble has betrayed us. Perhaps we ignored it for too long. We assumed all was well within. We shrugged because we were once in that bubble and we turned out okay. Perhaps we forgot that there is a whole generation of people who were raised in a culture of the screen, with a smart phone glued to their hand.
Those same naïve youngsters then go to an institution that teaches them equality is God and no one should be left behind. It teaches them that the worst sin is to possibly hurt someone’s feelings, and that any perceived offense deserves to be punished. It teaches them that only certain people and groups have free speech, that one person can decide what books don’t get read, and that professors can be bullied into submission.
These institutions of higher education foster the notion that nothing is as important as getting a “like” on social media. They encourage narcissism, racial division and a loathing of costume parties. They lure these youth into a bubble, coddle them and send them forth completely unprepared for life, not to mention, in debt.
Yes, the bubble has betrayed us. And we’ve yet see the full consequences of this betrayal on society.