Tuesday, January 9, 2007

the caste system in the united states

we citizens in the united states know for a fact that freedom reigns supreme in these parts. we know that we live in a grand old country that lets us shoot our guns, drink our beer, speak our minds, marry guys (that is, of course, if you're gay--i am not an enthusiastic supporter of gay marriage), become instant millionaires, etc., etc., etc. we love this land.

along with all of the freedoms granted to us citizens, one of the most important is the fact that we are all equal; equality. no one man is greater than another. we all have equal opportunities to succeed in this great country of ours. right?

hell no.

as a student preparing for college, i know that equality is not as strong in this country as it seems to be. put yourself in the shoes of a college-bound senior applying to colleges here and there. these students have a plethora of institutions to plug their applications into, but let's face it: most colleges out there are pretty crappy, and if they're not ivy leagues or within the top, let's say, 30 list, then they're shit. to really succeed in this world, one needs serious education at a serious school. getting into these "serious" schools is an uphill battle that most applicants lose.

in the US today, the eight ivy league schools and a handful of other elite schools are harder to get into than the white house, literally. you'd probably have a better chance of getting to sing at the white house for the annual student christmas concert with a handful of other school choirs than get into an ivy league. these elite schools, which are princeton, harvard, yale, upenn, caltech, mit, duke, cornell, stanford, columbia, stanford, dartmouth, and brown, are so competitive that, from what i've heard from friends and family, students with even outstanding scores on their sats (2100+), outstanding highscool records (4.0+), outstanding extracurriculars (football, basketball, golf, community service, etc.), and outstanding reps get rejected from these elite schools. there are so many damn students who are top notch that they all get rejected. so who goes to these elitest schools?

watch the news. although the story has receded in a sense, the duke rape scandal reveals who goes to these schools: bitchass-drunk, sex-crazed lacrosse players. those atheletes who play for these elite schools don't have to do a damn thing. all they have to do is show up for practice two times a day and party hard on the weekends. not only do athletes have easy access to these ivy leagues, but the sons and daughters of ceos, senators, socialites, etc. to me, it seems like the only way to get into these ivy leagues is by either being ridiculously adept at a sport, or being the child of someone famous.

no way do "average" high achieving students have a chance at these schools. today, straight-a's and excellent standardized test scores mean little. these elite institutions have evolved into pits full athletes, socialites, and those few students who are genuinely brilliant. and in the future, graduates of these elite schools go on to become great people while us normal students have to work twice as hard to achieve half the greatness of those ivy bitches.

who said that this land was equal?


Richie said...

From what you've described, if a student is at all talented they'd be better off not going to the Ivy league.

Why let yourself be surrounded by one-dimensional socialites and drunk jocks? Sounds like the real work is going on elsewhere.

Katharine said...

Now i have never responded to a blog post of any kind and this is entirely new to me, however, i came across your blog and felt compelled to write back because your attack comes directly at me. I am a student at one of these elite institutions you described, I am also an athlete, and a lacrosse player at that. I am a girl so maybe that makes me inherently less "drunk ass" and "sex crazed", but I will not assume.
It seems to me that you are quite the expert on something that you have yet to experience. That being both college and the world of college athleticis. I attend one of these universities and I am also an athlete, but I am not unqualified to be there- I was also second in my class, had over 1500 on my SATs (the old school way out of 1600), a 4.0 GPA and was active in the community. Did lacrosse maybe give me an edge? Sure, but am I just a dumb drunk jock covertly swept in to win games, but not attend class? Not by a long shot.

Also, Im fairly certain that the life of a student athlete at these schools is not nearly as glamourous or disgusting as you say. I cannot speak for all student athletes at all these schools, but I can speak to my experiences and those of my teammates and close friends. As student athletes we essentially carry the load of a full time job, plus homework. I feel my schedule illustrates this- I am an economics major and I will probably graduate early unless I write a thesis because I take a full course load each quarter. Here is what my week is like, I'm not sure exactly where the drunk sex crazed part fits in,
Monday- our one day without practice so I attend a class at the business school from 8 am to 10 in sports management, then I go straight to International Economics until noon. After lunch I head to Financial economics until 3:05. After class I generally head to the training room to get treatment for my knees after the 4 surgeries I've had in the past 5 years. Then i go back to my dorm and do work until dinner and then do more after dinner. Then I go to sleep early because Tuesday....

Tuesday- I lift with half of my team at 7 am, after which I grab breakfast and head to my 9:30 class on Information Science until 10:45, then I return to my room and do work until lunch- where I hash (washing the dishes of all the other students, for extra money) then go to practice from 3 to 6, then I babysit for a local family for more extra money.

Wednesday- much like monday except with practice from 3:15 to 6 and no sports management class.

Thursday- 7 am lift again, followed by class, hashing, practice and babysitting

Friday- 8 am back to the business school for the sports management class and the on to various other sections and discussion groups for my other threee classes, 3-6 practice

Saturday- 9 or 10 AM practice until noon or one
Sunday- lifting and film or team meeting from 3-6

That is my week to week, not to mention once games start and we fly all over the country to play, but basically that is what our week looks like from January to May. Now I'm not sure where the whole drunken part comes because normally Saturday or Sunday are the only available nights to go out.

To recap that is roughly 20 hours of class- the maximum allowed, combined with 20 technical hours of lacrosse not counting the time it takes to get to practice, get ready etc, plus homework, papers, and problem sets due each week. And our majors are not physical education or general studies because as you know these elite institutions don't offer such majors. On my team alone we have majors in economics, human biology, international relations, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, management, science and engineering, to name a few.

Also, to address your point about these elite institutions becoming pits of athletes and socialites, I think the numbers demonstrate otherwise. My university has a distinctly large varsity athlete population because we have a lot of varsity sports other schools do not like fencing for instance. Therefore 1 in 6 students on campus is a varsity athlete. There are perhaps 1000 student athletes, but that is no where close the the majority of the 6000 undergraduates that attend the school. Now, if the remaining 5000 are socialities- I cannot tell you for sure, but I find that fairly hard to believe. Let's say for argument sake these numbers hold across the board and Ill give you 1000 socialities at each of these institutions. You mentioned 12 schools, so that is 12000 varsity athletes, 12000 socialites- that number seems fairly high in itself, so 24000 of the 72000 students. I guess if you do not count the other 48000 students who are hard working dedicated students, these campuses are teeming with athletes and socialites.

One final point in regard to your comments about athletes making poor decisions and being drunk ass sex crazed maniacs, you fail to realize that with the privileges of being an athlete (I will not attempt to say that there are not privileges) there are extra responsibilities. The mistakes made by athletes are held under a microscope because we are seen as a representation of our school. With privilege comes responsibility, so when we make poor choices, we have huge consequences. Do you truly think that was the first time in the history of Duke someone has hired a stripper? Probably not. Was it a terrible decision? Yes, but do we all occasionally make poor choices? I'm going to venture yes.

So this is my first blog response ever, but I felt it deserved a response. I do not argue the point that there is inequality in America- that is for sure, but I hope you take more care before you make your sweeping generalizations about athletes who you do not think deserve to be at the schools they attend. I hope that you thoroughly enjoy your college experience and have the chance to become friends with such athletes and that you have a rewarding experience at whatever school you attend, just try and keep an open mind and you may learn more than you ever anticipated.