Can getting hit by a bus get you free tuition?
If you are just joining our wonderful scholarly atmosphere where most college students live, I wish I could tell you I was joking about the title of this speech. In fact, I have spent the eight hours of my usual class day joking to one or more of my fellow English majors about how we should skip class and find the nearest moving bus and see if this rhetoric about free tuition is true. These conversations are filled with laughter and we end up at the door of our classrooms, instead of venturing to Dixwell Avenue to test this theory. In the same respect, I realized that there is something very profound and terrifying about this joke. The fact is true: the rhetoric of universities is not lying, but our reaction is a lie. The truth is that the mere fact that we can joke about this shows our true dissatisfaction with being college students and the ultimate fear of the real world. We shouldn't think getting hit by a bus would solve all our problems. So, my question is what have universities done that have made our lives so miserable that my everyday conversations speak a true honesty to this fear? Why is talking about my future seem less realistic than when I call my mother to tell her I am dropping out school to become a prostitute?
Our jokes reflect the problem of false promises in the educational system. I don't want to go to bed at night reliving the words I said out loud and have my imagination set in to analyze what my life would really be like if one of these hideous jokes became real. I have contemplated dropping out of college and I have contemplated running as far away from school as possible. I see myself becoming the new Christopher McCandless burning away my I.D. and I think of how all the actual dreams I have for my future been labeled as fantasies. When did getting a college degree turn into some pessimistic thought we try to avoid? Who did this to me, and my fellow college students? I think it can only be summed up by a song I listen to that seems to incorporate all these feelings and more.
The emotions of being taken advantage of by the economic and educational systems that control the rhetoric of our past, present, and future lives, are expressed by lyrics from the band Twenty-One Pilots: click here In their song "Lane Boy" it says: "But the problem is, there's another list that exist and no one really wants to think about this/Forget sanity, forget salary, forget vanity, my morality/If you get in between someone I love and me/You're gonna feel the heat of my cavalry". The idea of staying within the "lane" of corporate America is by following their rhetoric instead of our own, and when your ideas change we must fight them off. The capitalization of America is expanding beyond the economical side of society to reflect similar changes in our educational system. Our insecurities are preyed on to make the world compliant to a higher authority. Noam Chomsky remarks that as corporations see these personal insecurities of workers as "healthy" and universities are building a similar model.
Another line in the song "Lane Boy" says "But will they be alive tomorrow?". And this can apply to the very rhetoric of our current educational and economical systems that will one day fade away as our generation rises. And will we be the ones who can change the rhetoric? I think we can. Students are feeling an advanced insecurity in the educational system where there is constant feeling of trickery, or BS being thrown their way in the false rhetoric of promises. These false promises are the way our universities tells us that a college degree, and even a graduate degree, will only increase our chances at being successful. It's not always true and we need to make sure our generation doesn't just mold into what our society says. I will not stay in my lane. I will do what will make me happy, even if that means I do have to wander into the woods, venture into the streets of New Haven following local bus routes, or anything in between. I will not be silenced because someone with a million dollar paycheck says my creativity and dreams are wrong. Guess what "corporate America"? I choose to be wrong if that is what it takes and you can't do anything about it.