I’m delighted to no longer be part of the parental tuition-check-writing cohort. Because if I were, I’d have to tell my kids that my checkbook was closed.
Take a year off, I’d tell them. A “gap year.”
That way they could escape the dystopian nightmare that colleges and universities have become as they over-react to the danger COVID-19 poses to college students. It would also exempt them from a world where newspapers are so desperate to gin up virus-shaming with headlines like this: “Six Students Sent Off Campus at Roanoke College.”
At the risk of sounding callous, why is this a news story?
Chances are these students have no symptoms or they’re experiencing something like the flu. Funny, I don’t remember hair-on-fire headlines when H1N1 was rampaging across college campuses, killing some and sickening thousands, including my son who was quarantined in his Marshall University dorm room for more than a week in 2009.
The implication is, of course, that these naughty Roanoke students engaged in “risky” behavior, which at this point amounts to ordinary college activities such as going to a party or riding in a car with four other students without wearing hazmat suits.
It gets worse.
The University of Virginia has proudly announced its new Coronavirus Snitch Program: It urges students to turn in their fellow Cavaliers who are seen engaging in flagrant examples of unsafe behavior, especially if they can document such transgressions with photos, videos or just good old-fashioned tattling.
I wouldn’t pay a penny to have my kids swept up in this insanity. And I definitely wouldn’t ante up for student activity fees when so many activities are canceled or modified to the point that they’re unrecognizable.
And why would anyone pay tuition for students to take online classes from a dorm room or from an off-campus apartment?
Some school cafeterias are closed. Parties are forbidden. Athletic events, when allowed, won’t have spectators.
Hardly a normal college experience.
Gap years are usually associated with privileged young people, traveling the world with Daddy’s credit card before buckling down and getting a degree. College kids can’t travel very far this fall, but they can finally hike the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trail. Or they can read a book a week. Or tutor local kids who are not allowed back in their classrooms. Or do volunteer work in their home communities.
College campuses are engulfed in a sort of corporate greed where tuition and fees hold steady while the offerings at many schools are thin gruel.
Take that year off, kids. You won’t regret it.There are currently no comments highlighted.