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comment by b_b
b_b  ·  366 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: College May Not Be Worth It Anymore

I'm in no way arguing that dumbing down of college is a positive development. Rather that since it's apparently a given at this point, that it creates opportunities to differentiate oneself in new (sometimes easier) ways (of course that doesn't apply at all to vocational learning where specific skills and not signaling are what you're after). Sort of like dating these days. Nobody asks anyone on a date anymore, so if you're the one guy who calls a girl on the phone with your actual speaking voice and says, "Will you go on a date with me", she's probably going to say yes. More complicated in school and the work place, but same idea. If I have any advice to give to young people it's (a) be the one person who asks people out on real dates (figuratively and literally) and (b) read everything. I don't actually know if that's good advice, but it's how I live and I do well by it.

kleinbl00  ·  366 days ago  ·  link  ·  


You're talking about signaling without understanding signaling. You're espousing your own baseline as the one true baseline. Knock it back a notch: when you were a kid, you'd work up your nerve to call a girl on the phone. "The phone" is your baseline. Was "the phone" your parents' baseline? I'll bet it wasn't. I'll bet asking in person was the baseline, or passing a note. Asking on the phone was quite possibly sloppy. Were your grandparents old enough to ask the girl's parents if you could take her out? How would that go over with your parents? How would it go over with you? My wife was asked out via letter when she was in high school. Perfectly acceptable in what? The 1930s? It made the dude a dangerous deviant in my wife's eyes and rightly so. He's ignoring the registers of communication and going straight from "casual discussion" to "papal bull."

It's possible cell phones were a thing by the time you graduated from high school. You may have known a few friends who had them. But I reckon you also grew up with answering machines. And aside from phone calls, notes in class and in person, you had three different ways to flirt. Now? Your channels include

- snapchat

- facebook

- instagram

- text

- phone

- face to face

...and shit, dude, I'm older than you. I'm probably missing half a dozen. But I also know that I communicate with people in their 20s differently than people in their 40s differently than people in their 60s and none of them appreciate mixing it up.

And who are you signaling to, anyway? "I wish to strive, give me extra knowledge!" might interest a professor for a little while. It will certainly signal to everyone around you that you're a brown-nosing sonofabitch. That professor? You're done with them in 12 weeks. Those classmates? That's your dating and friend pool. It's not an automatic decision.

Not a week goes by my art teacher doesn't apologize to me for the elementary bullshit we're doing. But not a lesson goes by that we don't do a bunch of elementary bullshit. I have no doubts that if it weren't a 100-level course, we might be doing different stuff. But I'm stuck in exactly the same inertial glidepath as the girl who asked today "so what's the ratio between the circle's circumference and its diameter?" ("3.14") "Precisely?" ("well, no, precisely pi") "every time?"

Every time, babe. Every time.