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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Lost in Translation 

A bunch of professors started an endless email thread as to whether it’s better to send their kids to a middling college where they’d be the best students or to a great college where they will be “at the bottom.”

What they are really trying to say, of course, is “I don’t like my kids, I don’t like my kids, I don’t like my kids.” The only thing that isn’t clear is why they engage in this form of exhibitionism on a work email server and not in their psychotherapist’s office. 

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7 thoughts on “Lost in Translation 

  1. Can you reveal the correct answer? I suppose it’s “let the child choose,” but if the child is unsure and asks for parents’ advice?

    Also, I don’t understand why those children will be “at the bottom” of a great college. Professors are very smart, and intelligence is very genetically inheritable.

    I would advise my children to go to the best college and make their greatest effort to succeed.

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  2. Shakti on said:

    What they are really trying to say, of course, is “I don’t like my kids, I don’t like my kids, I don’t like my kids.” The only thing that isn’t clear is why they engage in this form of exhibitionism on a work email server and not in their psychotherapist’s office
    How so?

    Also, I don’t understand why those children will be “at the bottom” of a great college. Professors are very smart, and intelligence is very genetically inheritable.
    It’s a hypothetical where they explore their own horrible status anxiety. There are specific careers that just aren’t open to people who don’t graduate from top schools but that’s not what most of these types of discussions revolve around.

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  3. Crystallizing chaos on said:

    I went to a great college and was a bottom student. (Well, not quite bottom but definitely below average.) I’ve often wondered for myself if that was the right decision. Now with years of hindsight, I feel that the reason I didn’t perform well was because to get into a good college I chose a major that I didn’t really care for. That’s just how things worked in India. I would have been better off doing something I liked and wanted to do. I eventually got into the field of work I like and am happy now, just that the 4 years of college now feel like a waste.

    Not really to the point you were trying to make but that’s my $0.02.

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  4. My eldest kid is a rising senior in high school. He has excellent grades and test scores, and could probably get into some fancy schools. The thing is, he wants to go here (to my big public research university), where I am pretty sure he will get in. I wonder if he’s selling himself short, because the “brand name” schools to give one a leg up in college; on the other hand, we can actually afford to send him here so he’d graduate without debt; the school is excellent overall and has the majors he likes, so it’s not like he’ll ruin his career prospects by going here. I have asked this question on the blog — is there are real benefit to going to a school with a sticker price of $60k versus the state school where it would be (in state) $25k — and everyone who’s gone to a private schools swears it was life-changing and necessary for their subsequent success… There is only one junior colleague who says, “If I’d had the equivalent of our school in my home town, I would have totally gone there,” and he also insists that a big school with a lot of opportunities is better in many ways for independence and personal growth than a small one no matter how fancy.
    I don’t want my kid to sell himself short, but ultimately it’s his choice where to go.

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