“Just recently I started letting myself eat things from the minibar. When we were kids, we would never open the minibar. A $6 Snickers bar? But the other day I was in a hotel and I was staring at a Snickers bar, and I finally just ate it. Then it was like something in me snapped. I opened all these drinks. I thought: I can do it now. Now I’m all grown-up. I can eat things from the minibar.”—Jennifer Lawrence
I’ve played a couple Elder Scrolls games (Oblivion and Skyrim), Guild Wars (WoW for cheap people), Runescape (WoW for cheap middle schoolers), all the Halos, Modern Warfare, Dragon Age, The Sims, Minecraft, Age of Empires, Civilization, and so many other games.
But nothing will ever be as addicting as a Pokémon Gameboy game.
“In a desert plain in Tanzania, in the shadow of the volcano Ol Donyo Lengai, there’s a dune made of volcanic ash. The beautiful thing is that it moves bodily. It’s what’s technically known as a “barchan,” and the entire dune walks across the desert in a westerly direction at a speed of about 17 meters per year. It retains its crescent shape and moves in the direction of the horns. What happens is that the wind blows the sand up the shallow slope on the other side, and then, as each sand grain hits the top of the ridge, it cascades down on the inside of the crescent, and so the whole horn-shaped dune moves. Steve Grand points out that you and I are, ourselves, more like a wave than a permanent thing. He invites us, the reader, to “think of an experience from your childhood — something you remember clearly, something you can see, feel, maybe even smell, as if you were really there. After all, you really were there at the time, weren’t you? How else would you remember it? But here is the bombshell: You weren’t there. Not a single atom that is in your body today was there when that event took place. Matter flows from place to place and momentarily comes together to be you. Whatever you are, therefore, you are not the stuff of which you are made. If that doesn’t make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, read it again until it does, because it is important.”—Richard Dawkins, The universe is queerer than we can suppose (TED Talk)
They really are. They’re some of the few places in the world where you can go and find the best and brightest the world has to offer (with some notable exceptions, of course). They’re places full of thousands of (primarily) young people who have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of higher learning in dozens of different areas. And they’re places where innovation and experimentation are encouraged more so than in any previous schooling or most future places of employment.
Now, that’s not to say colleges are perfect; they’re far from it. There will always be the professors who assign arbitrary and meaningless drivel, administrators who will make unpopular and foolish decisions, and students who won’t take their education seriously. But there will also be professors who will have meaningful impacts on your life, administrators who expand the number of possible majors to include some of the more esoteric interests, and students who will go on to make breakthrough discoveries or write powerful novels or do something meaningful with their lives - and that can be incredibly different for different people.
Colleges are truly remarkable places. You may look around and say, “I see a bunch of slackers mooching off their parents’ money, just trying to pass their classes so they can do something other than flip burgers at McDonald’s.” But I look around and say, “I see a bunch of future chemists, editors, historians, artists, managers, psychologists, lawyers, doctors, authors, linguists, pastors, biologists, teachers, philosophers, and a whole lot more, all together in one place, learning, living, making life-long relationships, and figuring out who they are.”