Making "Super Senior" Mean Something

Wunderkind (seriously) Ben Casnocha is a pretty consistent source of high quality insight, wisdom, and wonder, and one of my favorite college-age bloggers. His “Assorted Musings” post today had a pretty good nugget in there:

It seems like we need some intermediate step after you graduate from a liberal arts college. There’s college, in which you learn little about the real world, then right away the real world. Maybe four year colleges should offer a fifth year that is a super charged internship period / life skills bootcamp.

Damn straight, man. If you look at the kids that come into college after doing a gap year, the vast majority are less fazed and more capable than the straight-from-high-school freshmen that have to adapt to independent living, a college workload, and academic self-direction all at once. A gap year gives you time to try out and drop hobbies, sort out how to socialize like an adult, and find your passions, and the ability to defer college for a year and/or live off parents provides a little structure and stability to guide you through the journey.

A fifth year at college to sort some real-life skills out sounds nice, but on the other hand, is it worth the extra tens of thousands of dollars to have academics try to educate and support you in wholly non-academic pursuits? Dunno. I think there’s a good seed of an idea there- students need a bridge between the academic and professional worlds- but we need a way to keep that bridge affordable and practical in this down economy.

Other quality thoughts that ring true:

The key characteristics of people who make good travel partners: flexibility, open-mindedness, low-keyness. When deciding whether to travel with someone emphasize these characteristics over your overall closeness with the friend.

Single men and women tend to be more self-absorbed and arrogant than their married or in-a-serious-relationship counterparts. This is for two reasons: married life means focusing a lot on someone else’s life (almost as intensely as on your own) and second, a spouse will ground you when your conception of self becomes a bit grandiose. When another person has seen your dirty laundry and seen you in your lowest lows, she sees you as a fallible human and can call bullshit when you forget this fact. It is extremely difficult to get this type of honest feedback from anyone else.

Even more over at Ben Casnocha: The Blog.