School = Party?

It has come to my attention that schule will shortly be resessioning. Happily I do not have a child in that conflagration. Very happily.

The matter has impinged on my senses repeatedly. Last weekend was the “tax break” period for parents to go purchase schule supplies, that pile of poo being rather loosely delimited and increasingly so each year as the council of thieves politicians increases the list. Prithee, what purpose do diapers serve as schule supplies?

IMHO, the “tax break” period is really a bribe for the stores, especially Mal Wart. The phenomena seems to be that because one is not taxed for the goods and “saves” some 0.08 or so, then one is endocrinely enabled to spend twice as much on frivolous goods that rational people would never purchase. Faux crystal chandeliers for schule lockers?

On reflection I do recall as a college freshman taking a laboratory chemistry course that I was required to purchase three diapers to use as towels in laboratory. They had to be low lint, of course. But those were cloth diapers, not the ubuquitous paper ones of the present.

Which brings me to the failure of education these days. I ran across a couple of articles [Link][Link] on the designation of the “top twenty” party colleges. The basic list is:

  1. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
  2. University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.
  3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Ill.
  4. West Virginia University, Morgantown, W. Va.
  5. Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.
  6. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
  7. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
  8. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wis.
  9. Penn State University, University Park, Pa.
  10. Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa.
  11. University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
  12. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.
  13. DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.
  14. University of Mississippi, University, Miss.
  15. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
  16. Miami University of Ohio, Oxford, Ohio
  17. University of Maryland, College Park, Md.
  18. Tulane University, New Orleans, La.
  19. University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt.
  20. University of Oregon, Eugene, Ore.

I was somewhat pleased to find only one of my schules, the campus of the Boneyard, on the list. Although when I was there I did not notice it to be much of a party schule. Evidently it has improved, if I may use that term, in the years since I departed. The second article lists the five (?) best party schules for nerds. Again, the campus of the Boneyard is included. I have to admit a bit of skepticism. After all, the source is a contradiction, a nerd magazine for bogs, even less rigorous than Scientific American. Mind pablum for slime mold cerebrates.

When I was at the campus of the Boneyard the state of partying was going sometimes to the departmental colloquia – coffee or punch and iGA brand cookies – the weekly physics department coffee – coffee and IGA cookies – or the metallurgy department’s weekly faculty and grad students beer hour (or two?) with beer. The beer hall was fortuitously (deliberately?) a block from the building so that most of us would find our way back.

The question arises of why, if I was majoring in physics and TAing in chemistry did I go to a metallurgy party(?)? The answer is that my research adviser was chaired in that department. And the wisdom was that grad students had a habit of burning out – two in my research group the year I graduated – and had to be made to unwind. Today I am not sure any of these activities fulfill that need. I suspect rather it was the faculty draining their guilt buffers. And getting someone to make sure they got home.

Also in retrospect I am not sure any of these activities qualify as parties. Or that we would have attended any such anyway.

I also have to admit to a bit of cognition. It appears that a sizable component of the cost of starting schule these days is attire. At least that is the common theme across advertisers. I find this difficult to grasp, although it does give me some inklings about why the enormous student debt.

Until I went to college I was rather oblivious to clothes. The only concern I recall was an intense hatred of short pants (shorts) gained in first grade. But clothing equipage was largely a matter of purchasing three pairs of robust pants and three robust shirts and perhaps a jacket. As I prepared to depart for college my parents drug me off to men’s clothing stores specializing in young men where wily clerks pushed all manner of nonsense on us. I quickly found when I arrived at the campus of the Black Warrior that this was all bunk and thereafter bought clothes based on actual need. I spent four years getting rid of those pre-college clothes, being unwilling to discard anything functional even if outre.

At the campus of the Boneyard I found all I needed was a very HEAVY coat which I traveled to an adjacent town to purchase, avoiding the inflated prices in college towns. And by the time I got to the campus of the Tennessee I just work work clothes.

So what is this with fashion for elementary schule students? No wonder the merchants are gleeful. No wonder the graduates have such debt. And does this insanity apply to STEMs? I hope not.

In interim. I shall hunker down and be glad I have nothing engaging in this nonsense.

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