T Minus 16 Months
We’re looking at colleges. Some people, who will remain nameless, think that we don’t have to do this, because we already know where we want to go. My response is this:
The college experience is the real beginning of your intellectual life. The people you meet, the mentors, the teachers, the friends, will be critical in helping you become yourself. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of actively making that experience work for you. It’s easy to take less than the best. This effort should not be a random grab at a convenient degree mill. You have to absorb an understanding and a feeling for various places. In order to get a feel for what might help you, you have to get a feel for place and pace and local color. What kinds of places are out there? What are the boundaries of this educational universe? How do the people seem? This is largely a subconscious process requiring exposure. After seeing a place, conversations and reading about that place will have a hook in your brain, a folder where they can easily fit. I suppose it’s easy to make mistaken assumptions based on limited data, and it’s impossible to see every place you might be interested in. Nevertheless, you come to know, for instance, the difference between a state university and a liberal arts college. It’s no longer just a line item in the US News and World Report.
After our first visit, we managed to elicit the following comment. "Well, when you see an interesting campus like this, it makes you think. Maybe city schools are not necessarily the best."