Monday, July 27, 2009

On "Party Schools"

Every so often, as the years pass me by, I am tempted to consider how different my life would be if I had aspired to attend a private college with a prestigious reputation rather than the state university around the corner. Perhaps I would comprehend Chaos Theory, or Pavement lyrics, or the plot of Lost. Perhaps I would do my own taxes, or at least be able to effectively cheat on them. Perhaps I would work at Goldman Sachs, or perhaps I would meet up with my colleagues in the philosophy department to drink Glenfiddich and debate Heidigger on Sunday evening, rather than devouring two full hours of The Celebrity Apprentice.

And then something like this happens, something that reminds me of the true purpose of higher education, which is to squander the family's nest egg while sitting on a salvaged couch, listening to The Lemonheads, watching Elvis Presley films, manipulating cola cans in order to consume plant-based intoxicants, phoning the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma and conspiring to gather kegs of bargain-basement Wisconsin-based beer for outdoor tailgate parties that will most likely end with a regrettable coupling and the theft of at least one public sculpture:

Penn State University has been ranked the No. 1 party school in the nation by the Princeton Review.

The Princeton Review today released its rankings, which also give Penn State the No. 1 ranking in two other categories: students pack the stadiums (intercollegiate sports popular) and lots of beer (usage reported high).

Penn State also made Top 20 rankings in some other areas: students dissatisfied with financial aid, No. 2; jock schools, No. 3; major frat and sorority scene, No. 3; best athletic facilities, No. 3; best career services, No. 6; everyone plays intramural sports, No. 6; best college newspaper, No. 6; lots of hard liquor, No. 9; students study the least, No. 11; and least politically active students, No. 17.

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