I just read that the New York Times‘s “Choice” Blogger has chosen Vanderbilt over Yale. He’ll be sorry.
Vanderbilt is in the worst throes of its upwardly mobile crisis. It’s trying to prove how awesome it is by upping the research requirements for tenure, and aping its “betters” by investing in cheap (and waaaaaaaay overworked) adjunct labor. So the teaching is…well, let’s just say it’s not going to be the first priority.
The crazed pursuit of greatness has infected the students, too, leading them to think that being massively overscheduled is the way to achieve the mythical work-life “balance” that everybody wants but nobody wants to do right (hint: it involves choosing what NOT to do).
Like Rory in Accepted, who at first wanted to get into Yale but then decided that what she really wanted was a course in “sitting and thinking about stuff”, these kids need to cut it out. Slow the fuck down. Think about what life is really about. As does Vanderbilt.
A friend asked if I really thought it would be better at Yale. Surely, she argued, the kids were just as overscheduled and things were probably even more pretentious. “Maybe,” I conceded, “but at least they’ve already got their own idiom. Vanderbilt is still grasping for one, and it can’t even come up with its own model.”
But what do I know. I only used to work there. (I think, anyway. Another thing Vanderbilt sucks at? Writing clear and legally binding contracts.)