College can’t make me Superman

by Jack Sawyers

Here at the Simpsonian Perspectives desk, we pride ourselves on addressing the pressing issues facing Simpson College. We work tirelessly, around the clock to voice the opinion of at least some, if not all, of the Simpson community and bring you a fresh look at the life we all lead together as students.

Or, as is usually the case, we attempt to find some point of the lifestyle that can reasonably be examined in 500 or more words.

Face it, there’re just not that many pressing issues at Simpson that we can stay aware of.

So, as a result, you occasionally have to sit through a column about text messaging or ramen noodles or some other mundane topic. Forgive us.

The problem, at its source, with finding issues is that we’re a student newspaper and we focus on student issues. As my editor Mark Pleiss once put it, why would anyone want to hear about national issues from some kid when they can read something a guy with a Ph.D. wrote?

This week, to avoid the trap of looking the fool, (as if it were avoidable) I’ve decided to tackle the toughest issue facing many Simpson students – the question of why, exactly, we’re here.

Sure, the answer seems simple enough. Most of us would agree that we’re at Simpson because we were blackmailed into it. This is in part because we’re part of a society that refuses to reward us if we lack pieces of paper that cost us thousands of dollars and four years of our lives.

Unfortunately, figuring out why we’re here isn’t simple. In fact, many of us aren’t quite sure why we’re in college, other than it was the thing to do.

I mean, why on earth would we want to spend years with no real income, living on microwaveable products in substandard housing – generally spinning our tires?

Are we here so that some day we can fulfill our childhood dreams of becoming accounts-receivable managers for multinational conglomerates, or because being an executive assistant was always what we wanted out of our mid-twenties?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say probably not.

Think about it. Did you ever dream of the career you’ll have once you’re finished with your degree? I didn’t. I wanted to be a trucker.

Now, granted, this was in the late 80s, in the golden age of trucking, when “Over the Top” was still a staple on TBS and the USA Network, but the dream was real.

There was just something about the over-the-road lifestyle that I found appealing. You could be dirty for days and no one would know.

Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it – that dream died, and so did my youthful ignorance of the world. High school came, and so did the assumption that we’d all wear business-casual contemporary clothes, work in cubicles and attach covers on all TPS reports. College was then the only option.

Really, though, how many of you wanted to be firemen, or cowgirls or Superman? Last I checked, they don’t have a superhero major at Simpson, so what, exactly, are you doing?

The point is, the dreams of our past have apparently bowed to the expectations of our future. Being a cowgirl just won’t pay the rent these days, and Superman’s dead. Our wild hopes have lamed up a bit and are now more like anxious worries. Life after college is a void of uncertainty.

Hopefully, many of us will persevere and find what we never knew we were looking for in the years after we leave this place, but most of us probably will fall short at in at least some regard. For those of you who dreamed of collating and color copying as children, you’ve hit the jackpot.

I, for one, am holding out for my x-ray vision.