Has anyone ever seen someone wearing a t-shirt that says “we are a drinking school with a football problem?” Or any variation there-of? What do advertisements like this say about the school? And why does that somehow boost the popularity of the institution?
My thought is that so many (not all) colleges and universities advertise themselves as a way of life. They sell “fun” over education. They sell sports, clubs, and Greek life over what college should really be about – Learning. Growing. Becoming prepared for a job.
But fun sells.
Don’t get me wrong, sports, clubs, Greek life and any extra-curricular activities are extremely important to the college experience. And honestly, most of memories from my undergraduate years revolve around the experiences I had outside of the classroom. But, they are not the point (or shouldn’t be). Yes, you go to college and make friends, likely go to some parties, and participate in clubs. But college isn’t summer camp. We don’t go to college to have fun. We go to college to work and to learn. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have fun and have a life outside of school because work-life balance is imperative.
I remember in high school, some of my peers would just boast about how they couldn’t wait to go to college so that they could drink all weekend, meet boys/girls, etc. Very few seemed actually excited about going to college to learn! Movies do the same thing. Most movies about college students portray huge parties, a lot of drinking, and (gulp) little studying. And people wonder why they do poorly in their classes. And it appears to me that universities keep growing, continue expanding athletic facilities, and spending millions of dollars while they remain understaffed. And being understaffed = stressed faculty that don’t have the time or resources to give individual attention to all of the students who need it.
How can we make college about education first? It must have been that way at one point.