Hey 2010, thanks for the memories!
This was my first full year of writing and blogging about higher education for the Post. Simply put, I have learned a lot. And I suppose the eve of yet another new year is the perfect time to compile a list. (I know, I know, because you still haven't read enough year-in-reviews.)
TEN THINGS I LEARNED IN 2010
1) Watermelon is the best Four Loko flavor.
This semester I wrote about the rise, fall and death of Four Loko -- the super sugary caffeinated alcoholic energy drink that was banned by the federal government in November. Before the beverage became contraband, I had the opportunity to sample several varieties -- watermelon is by far the best. Allegedly, alcoholic whipped cream will be the new gross drinking trend in 2011, according to The List.
2) Student loan debt is massive.
This year the Federal Reserve announced the amount of student loan debt in the country had surpassed the amount of credit-card debt. In June, consumers owed nearly $830 billion in private and public student loans. College tuition is ever increasing. Students are taking out thousands each year to pay for their education (plus, posh dorms and semesters abroad). And the job market is still not great for recent grads.
In February, a San Francisco attorney posted a Craigslist ad for his "worthless" law degree, which originally cost more than $100,000 but was listed at the "bargain basement price of $59,250, which is the current value of my remaining student loan balance."
3) Twitter is awesome.
I absolutely hated Twitter when I first signed up. Now, not a day goes by without me scrolling through 140 character snippets of news. Just a few of my favorite follows: @GtownVoice, @UVaDeanJ, @AdmissionDaniel, @nytimescollege, @gwhatchet, @USATodaycollege, @OHnewsroom, @amandahess, @HuffPostCollege, @IowaStateUNews, @pourmecoffee and @usnewseducation.
4) DC interns do not get enough respect.
This summer I did a daily series that made fun of the worst intern stereotypes, like the know-it-all intern and the flip flops intern. But let's remember, Washington likely could not run without the (mostly free) labor of dedicated college students.
5) Sometimes it does blizzard in D.C.
Early this year, the city was socked with several feet of snow, shutting everything down, closing colleges and inspiring a huge snowball fight in Dupont Circle.
6) College dorms are getting swankier and swankier.
I am sorry, I should have said residence halls. In the past year I have toured quite a few halls that are much nicer than most of the places I have ever lived. The Princeton Review even does a list of schools with "dorms like palaces." Although, that list inspired an ironic blog called "Dorms Like Palaces," that allows college students to submit complaints about their living arrangements. These days, students at several schools can also room with a friend of the opposite sex.
7) Silly Bandz were awesome. In July.
And yet I still think silly bands are cool and slipped holiday-themed ones in my holiday cards. I promise to give them up in 2011. Maybe.
8) College presidents have tough jobs.
It's not easy being a college president -- slashing budgets, eyeing rankings, raising money, dealing with neighbors woken by late-night parties, setting up foreign campuses, recruiting faculty and handling controversy. And yet another thing that has been added to the list: Sucking up to undergrads.
9) I really love my job.
This year I met dozens of interesting people, sat in on fascinating classes, learned about DMT, watched a deaf speed dating event, launched a weekly online chat, hung out at Thirsty Turtle and cooked a turkey in my microwave. I fully realize that most people aren't allowed to have this much fun at work.
10) 2011 is going to be great. Hopefully.
I have a long list of resolutions, including getting to the bottom of my e-mail inbox and writing more about transfer students and community colleges. What would you like to see more (or less) of on Campus Overload next year? Let me know in the comments!
Happy, happy New Year! Be safe tonight, and I will see you in 2011.
Posted by: judyalt123 | January 1, 2011 1:24 AM | Report abuse