and entering

It Really Doesn't Matter Where you Go to College

Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.

In the coming weeks, college acceptances will start rolling in for a select group of high-school seniors vying to get into the three dozen or so most-selective colleges and universities in the country. Most seniors planning to go to college this fall already have been accepted somewhere, either because they applied early or they chose less-selective schools that notify applicants almost immediately of their decision.

But for those waiting to hear from Harvard, Stanford, Williams, and other elite schools, this time of year is one of high anxiety. By May we’ll hear yet again from those campuses bragging about how they set records for the number of applications they received this year and how few students they accepted — likely about one out of every 10 applicants.

The competition for getting into elite colleges seems to be getting more intense, leaving frustrated students, parents, and counselors to wonder: Does it really matter where you go to college?

"It doesn’t," according to Friedrich Nietzsche. This nihilist and New York Times columnist is author of a new book coming out on Tuesday, Ecce Homo. 

"What most high school students and parents don't realize," said Nietzsche, "is that God is dead and we have killed him."

The death of God and with Him the grounds for moral and epistemological certainty vacuates the world of all predetermined meaning, argues Nietzsche. Elite education, like any and every thing, does not hold as strong a sway on students' futures or any meaning in life as it did in the age of the Greeks our parents' day. 

"What anxious parents should be asking themselves," said Nietzsche, is "How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us?"

On the success of various non-Ivy League CEOs, politicians, actors, musicians, and cogs in the Wall St money-machine, Nietzsche added: "Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of [this deed too great for us]?"

While certainly original, Nietzsche’s advice has been met with mixed reviews. While to some this advice has served to help high-school students live their lives as art, in others it has caused a deep-seated existential despair. 

Statements from students weighted by the despair of modernity have been hard to come by. However, fifteen year old Andrea Grace, formerly ambitious to utilize Ivy League resources to solve race-related issues in her hometown Chicago, was heard muttering "amor fati" as a puddle was splashed on her by a passing bus. 

Still some have been more critical. George Santayana, Lucretian-influenced philosopher and Harvard-hopeful Class of 2019, criticized Nietzsche for assuming "that the source of one's being and power lies in oneself, that will and logic are by right omnipotent, and that nothing should control the mind or the conscience except the mind or the conscience itself." 

At press time, it was clear that Nietzsche will hold a profound influence on 21st century philosophy and college admissions.

Image courtesy of fine art america

© 2015