Since all my friends are college alums, and all their children are college attendees, their houses are littered with college promotional material. That’s how I got my hands on a magazine called Macalester Today, in which Macalester College boasts about things that, in a normal world, would deeply embarrass it. Macalester, incidentally, charges over $60,000 per year for room and board. Here, in no particular order, what I discovered leafing through my friend’s magazine:
Macalester, a second- or third- tier liberal arts college, boasts that it has multiple therapy dogs to help students deal with homework stress. These kids have 12 hours or so of classes a week plus homework. Pardon me if I’m not weeping tears for the stresses they’re under. In addition to a full class load at college, I spent 30 hours a week commuting and 20 hours a week working, while graduating Magna Cum Laud and Phi Beta Kappa. It’s not that I’m that smart, so believe me when I say I’m not boasting; it’s that, in the liberal arts, college isn’t that hard.
The way Macalester Colleges defines down what constitutes “stress” is bad enough. I’m sure that, for some people, leaving home and being responsible for themselves for the first time is indeed stressful and they initially lack the skills to handle that stress. One of the things you’re supposed to do in college is to learn the skills — not (to my way of thinking) to have the university essentially cheer you on for lacking them.
What’s worse than this response to growing up (which can be hard) is the article’s opening paragraph, which hones in on precisely why Macalester’s students are really stressed and in need of therapy . . . er, in need of therapy dogs: