American life is structured around existing within at least one institution.
To be institutionless is to be looked upon as a ghost and made to feel like a ghost, cold and alone, unable to touch the world of the living. To be institutionless is to not exist.
College is notable because it is one of the more voluntary institution we are permitted. This enhances the desirability of college. Our alternatives are:
prison (involuntary, arbitrary, extrajudical punishment like rape, HIV infection, mutilation is encouraged and integrated into the system, most people who enter prison do so not because they’ve done anything wrong, but because the demands of the lucrative prison-industrial complex create increasingly bizarre, unavoidable laws, cooperate with high schools to funnel undesirables to prisons and the streets, etc)
The school-to-prison pipeline is the widespread pattern in the United States of pushing students, especially those who are already at a disadvantage, out of school and into the criminal justice system.
the asylum/mental health system (largely involuntary, pressuring at best, arbitrary, incarceration and quality of treatment is related more to being queer, of color, holding alternative political views, etc than actual mental illness)
…acknowledged that people from black and minority ethnic communities were less likely to come forward voluntarily for mental health treatment, more likely to stay longer as in-patients and more likely to be prescribed medication or electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) instead of psychological treatment.
the army (pseudo-voluntary, lack of money/options coupled with recruiter lies and patriarchal pressure to “be a man”, hyper-controlling and destructive once you entered the system)
In FY2010, there were 3,158 total reports of sexual assault in the military. The DOD estimates that this number only represents 13.5% of total assaults in 2010, making the total number of military rapes and sexual assaults in excess of 19,000 for FY 2010.
career (pseudo-voluntary, where you work and your terms of employment are dictated mostly by where you’re born, employers whim, luck, and if you’re a woman, queer, person of color, and/or different in any way you can expect abuse, harassment, reduced wages, reduced chance of promotion without legal recourse)
and the list goes on: the pseudo-prison of high school, boots camps for children using illegal, PTSD-inducing torture methods, isolative religious compounds, etc.
All these institutions have two things in common:
1) synergetic, reinforcing (join the army so you can get college tuition so you can get a career or end up in prison or the mental health system due to untreated PTSD–these all effortlessly ricochet humans from one or the other–few can escape at least one of these systems)
2) they make college look good (by dint of being even more nightmarish, unnatural, painful).
So you go to college.
College is paying huge sums of money for the illusion of progress across a 4, 8, however many year time-span. You’re sold the idea that college is a guarantee, that it’s the proper, correct, even moral thing to do. College is a secular religion and the heaven is career, housing, stability.
College is the revitalizing current of Whiteness. This current feels like safety, shelter, enough to eat, social health, power. The people who control this current don’t care about you.
College is the impulse that causes us to hate homeless people.
You learn to hate people who don’t go to college.
We must not shame those who choose not to go to college.
We must reject the idea that college is where Knowledge is.
We must reject the idea that people, their thoughts, and their art are less valid if they did not attend college.
The people who participate in this system are often the people who correct others on the proper use of language and form. One reason for this is that college attaches a time and money value to a certain kind of language and acting (white, middle-upper class, etc). Under our capitalist system, to accept other ways of communicating is to devalue the cash value of the communication style learned in college.
College is the capitalist idea that you can build the perfect human being out of money. Money is pieces of paper with words written on them that survive only because of a dystopian mass hallucination that will one day fade.
If you don’t have the money, they’ll take you on as an indentured servant.
We must make mindlessly going to college as shameful as participating in any pyramid scheme.
The propaganda surrounding college remains the same even as the viability of college plummets. They will continue to sell the idea of college even as they gut their finances, loot their coffers, lay off teachers (minority teachers at highest risk of redundancy, of course), and strip their system to the bare minimum while increasing their prices.
I have met very few people who did not hate me, think I was ethically repugnant, or unhealthy (seeing me as an animal selected to die, incapable of survival), upon learning I don’t care for college.
The idea that college makes your thoughts more valid is repulsive. There is no magical college process that refines humans into superior beings, only people insecurely defending the huge amount of time and money they spent.
My thoughts are beautiful. They are not to be condescended to or exoticized. They are intelligent, but not in the way we are taught to view intelligence. They are powerful, but not the kind of power that manipulates and breaks apart others.
I did not participate in college. I left after self reflection lead me to the unshakeable conclusion that I could not participate nor survive in this system. College is the path of seeking privilege, and that is a path you cannot compromise on, because it asks for everything. It is like anorexia, like the societal standard of beauty, it is a limitless hunger. I would have lost everything good in me.
College is the indefinite suppression of your humanity.
Here’s a list of things that aren’t college: talking to human beings, being in the world, reading a book that didn’t cost a hundred bucks, reading a book that you chose to read, learning at your own pace, learning exactly what you want to learn, making things right now instead of waiting on someone else’s timetable.
Note: This post doesn’t apply to everyone who goes to college. I also accept that not everyone has the same options and some people have to make hard decisions. We don’t always have a choice. This is targeted at people of privilege, not marginalized people. This is directed at the perfunctory, cookie-cutter, moralizing attendance of college. Most of all, this is directed at people who hate, whether overtly or subtly, people who don’t go to college.
If you ever think, if you’re ever so kind as to think, I like Porpentine’s writing, I like her game design, what she says, or something else she does–realize that nothing you admire in me came from college. With trivial exceptions, I have learned nothing about any subject whatsoever in any school in my life. I am entirely self-taught.
I am happy that I didn’t go to college.