Thought Catalog
June 17, 2014

Your College Shortlist Doesn’t Contain A Single University Whose Student Body Rioted On YouTube

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What is the issue?

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Son, put down those academic rankings and financial aid forms. I’d like to have a serious talk about how you’re approaching what will be the most important decision a young person faces. While Berkeley and Michigan rank high for their business programs, neither of those student bodies have instigated a riot in the past few years worthy enough that bystanders might record and share it on YouTube for us to enjoy.

And don’t waste my time with college visits that will help round out your top ten – that’s your mother talking. All the research we need can be found by typing “naked coed anarchy” into the YouTube search engine. Harvard, Yale, Swarthmore – those are honorable choices if you’re looking to spend the next four years in a library. But if you want your college years to provide you with life experience – the excitement of destroying public property alongside hundreds of drunken, scantily-clad young people, shimmying up a pole as your peers take bets on whether you’ll break your neck, running from tear gas canisters and riot squad personnel as someone videotapes it – then you need to adjust your standards.

I don’t care what your mother and guidance counselor Mister Grimley say about a liberal arts education. You listen to Grimley, you’ll end up at Fordham or Canisius, or one of those Jesuit schools that never produce a sports program deserving of a fan base that riots after big losses. Come on, kiddo, live a little. Before you know it, you’ll be closing in on fifty, a job you can’t stand, mouths to feed, a mortgage, college tuition to worry about. Those are the years youcannot riot.

The entire system is set up to make people property owners, which ensures they have a stake in maintaining law and order. Once you’re a homeowner, you can’t just grab your rake, run into the streets and start smashing hell out of things to relieve a little tension. Because your neighbors might riot back and destroy your property, and then you’d have to clean it up. The best part about rioting as an underclassman is that you just go back to the dorm and sleep it off.

You feel where I’m coming from, son? I’m talking about responsibility. I’m talking about becoming a contributing member of society. But not for the next four years, at the very least. Check out this riot video from Cornell University circa 1998. See how the students dance on top of the cars – can you imagine, just stripping naked, dousing yourself in cheap beer, and dancing on an automobile? Perhaps the very one you commute to and from work in everyday. Watch how they flip it over. Now look at what they’re doing – that’s right, son, dancing on the undercarriage. Imagine the sweat. Imagine the pheromones, the body parts rubbing, the Bacchanalia of it all. Imagine not giving a shit about anything, just for a few hours. Cornell has a solid hotel administration program, too.

I want you to know that you can become anything you want. You can study anything you choose. And you can apply that crap into whatever career you wind up in for the rest of your life. But unless you have the misfortune of your employer relocating to some Third World country, or the global economic system collapsing once you hit the workforce, then college is the only time you can participate in a riot without suffering criminal repercussions.

Diversity, intramural sports, community outreach – save that nonsense for the personal essays. At the end of the day, I don’t want my son stressing over GPA and final exams. I’ll sleep better at night knowing you’re attending a college that can help you blow off steam, perhaps in the form of some meaningful civil disorder. TC mark

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