>>> Text-Heavy
By staff writer E.E. Southerby
May 30, 2004

“Because Pre-Frosh Are the Future”

Now Playing: “Changes” by Butterfly Boucher

Dear Graduating High-Schoolers, I know most of you are too busy wearing your pants around your kneecaps and throwing rocks at the elderly or whatever it is you do to think about applying for college. I also know that you've already received countless college “pep” talks from teachers, guidance counselors, parents, escaped Nazi war criminals, etc. and the last thing you want is another sermon from me. Well too bad! So hike up your pants and shut up, Future of America. Here's what happened:

-You're about to graduate from high school, and you're not even sure if college is for you. A lot of “experts” will tell you that college isn't for everyone, and you should not go just because it seems like everyone else is doing it. This confirms my suspicion that experts all get together to huff modeling glue. To determine if college is right for you, take the following quiz: Question 1. Do you dream of one day becoming one of those old people with really bad posture who work the Burger King drive-thru? Question 2. Have you been offered a six-figure contract to film demeaning Internet pornos as soon as you turn 18? If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you should probably still go to college. Particularly if you answered “yes” to the second one, in which case you should also be my roommate.

-A lot of ambitious young high school graduates want to “take a year off” to travel before going to college. This is a mistake. On the off-chance that your travels don't end up with you getting raped or mauled to death by wombats (nobody wants to get raped by wombats), you will return home a broken shell of a (wo)man. Just ask anyone who's actually gone backpacking across Europe. Oh, sure, they'll hide behind this facade that “it was a really great time” and “an experience they'll never forget,” but I think it will be pretty obvious that they're filthy, filthy liars who'll burn in Hell alongside Osama Bin Laden and Tom Clancy. I wouldn't admit to getting raped by wombats either.

-So you've decided to go to college, but you don't know where to begin the application process. You're concerned about SATs, interviews, admission essays, GPAs, cumulative GPAs, NAMBLAs, etc. What you probably don't know is that if you go to college in Canada, you don't need any of that. In Canada, all you do is fill out an application form and you're in! Sometimes people sign up for college as a prank. Sometimes infants, or deceased persons, get admitted. It's Canada! We'll admit ANYONE! Getting into college in Canada is easier than buying an Uzi in South-Central LA.

-“But Mr. Text-Heavy Person,” you're asking, “Are the colleges in Canada as good as the ones in the good old war-torn USA?” Do not be deceived by the fact that Canada lacks the big-name “Ivy-league” schools or the fact that they will admit anyone. Canadian Universities are world-renowned as leaders in the field. For example, at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, you can major in Agricultural Management. Yes, that's right: In Canada you can go to college to become a farmer. I assume somewhere else in Canada is a four-year program in Trash Collection.

-When you apply to colleges, they will ask what program you are interested in. Provided that you are not hell-bent on a specific program like Agricultural Management, it really doesn't matter what you say. The first year of college is the same for everyone no matter what your major is. This is not to suggest that you should go into college with your major “Undeclared.” Just because it doesn't matter what your major is doesn't mean you shouldn't have one so that you can tell as many people about it as possible. You'll find classmates, parents, parole officers, EVERYONE will be asking you what your major is. If you say “I'm undeclared” they will give you a look of combined confusion and sympathy that will haunt your dreams until you slay an evil bog monster and reclaim the oracle like they did in Buffy. Damn I miss that show.

-Quote of the Moment: Case in point, (or is it “point in case”? HAHAHAHAHAcough) a college freshman I know just returned home for the summer. His parents asked him what his major was, and he replied that although he was a philosophy major, he was thinking of switching over to chemical engineering. His parents asked him if that meant he would have to take freshman year over again, and he replied: “No. Being a philosophy major is just like being undeclared. It just sounds better.”

-I'm sure you've seen those college movies like “Animal House,” “Van Wilder” and “Freddy vs. Jason” and been told that “college isn't really like that.” But nobody will tell you what college really IS like. It's some carefully guarded secret conspiracy to build up an element of mystique so you'll go to college just to find out what it's like. Well, despite the threat of numerous lawsuits by angry deans, I am going to reveal to you, the young readers of this column, what movie university life is REALLY like: Yentl.

-Before you apply to any colleges, you will be encouraged to take a tour of the campus to see if it's “really what you're looking for in a university.” This is a great idea, provided you don't intend on applying to colleges more than 100 miles away from home. Otherwise, you're looking at some serious travel time to look at what is essentially some old buildings and maybe a fountain. I don't know who these people are who fly across the country for a day just to take a campus tour led by an ornery, community-service-fulfilling student like me. Let me give you a hint: If you're planning on going to school so far away from home that you'll never see your family ever again, it doesn't matter what the place looks like. Your list of college priorities obviously doesn't include facilities, student body, faculty, tuition or housing. You just want to be far, far away from your parents, like Shrek.

-By now you've applied to a few universities based on very, very poor advice. You're asking yourself: “Self, how am I going to pay for this four-year bender?” Luckily for you, today's universities have a large number of financial aid packages available, in the form of loans. You will also be expected to get a summer job, which means no more spending the summers lounging around a pool and spreading AIDS to native reserves. Finally, most students pay for college through an informal series of whining to their parents. If you combine your earnings from these three sources, you'll see that you still don't have enough money to cover tuition and beer. This is where two very important words enter a college freshman's vocabulary: “Insurance Scam.” (Sophomore year you learn about “Armed Robbery,” followed by “Las Vegas” and “Selling Kidney.”)

-Do not despair, young college hopefuls. The future looks bright despite the bleak offerings contained in this column. Just because a bachelor's degree has never been more expensive, and just because there are about as many jobs out there as there are teeth on the cast of the Jerry Springer Show, doesn't mean that you should give up hope. College is a valuable investment in your future, an experience you'll never forget, and above all the only thing that separates you from the Taliban. So follow your dreams, come to Canada, don't ever go “Undeclared,” and stay away from wombats. Those wily fuckers.