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Reviewing the Princeton Review college rankings

By Alexandra Petri

The Princeton Review just came out with its list of college rankings. Now I know where to go when I go back to college, a prospect that convinced me to work so hard to invent this time machine. For most American twenty- and thirty-somethings -- and for not a few people in their forties and fifties -- the idea of being trapped in a Groundhog Day-esque loop where you keep repeating college over and over again is the closest approximation of heaven. Who needs wings and a harp when you can do kegstands, surrounded by your best friends, at the peak of your intellectual and athletic prowess? Apparently BYU students, where kegstands are verboten.

So if we had it to do over, where would we go? Well, it depends what your criteria are.

Do you dislike libraries? Do only feel comfortable around books with covers depicting studly gentlemen whose shirts are being blown open by unseen forces? Then try Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. They have the worst library of anyone!

Who needs class discussions? Or popular professors? They only make you feel guilty about not having done the reading. My dream college is full of boring lectures by people I dislike, which puts the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena on top of the list.

I hate happiness and enjoy hard liquor, which would lead me to either Fisk College or Providence College, depending on which impulse prevails.

I love things that are hideous and unsightly, because they make me appear more beautiful by comparison. Once I visited the campus at Sewanee -- the most beautiful, according to Princeton Review -- and people kept mistaking me for a gargoyle. So the campus of the New Jersey Institute of Technology intrigues me.

Then again, I want to go somewhere where the students are politically disengaged. Instead of having to pretend that “the government wouldn’t let me vote because they worried I would have too much influence,” I will be able to blend into the crowd. I also dislike good food. Voltaire said that “the best stomachs are not those that refuse all food.” I refuse no food! In fact, I prefer my food to be indistinguishable from that thing my dog just dragged home and presented to me as a gift. Both of these factors are pushing me toward the State University of New York at Albany. As a special bonus, their dorms are supposed to resemble dungeons. That’s good. I love dungeons!

I also want somewhere that shares my hatred for intercollegiate sports, where athletics are “unpopular or nonexistent.” So I’m also intrigued by Eugene Lang College The New School For Liberal Arts -- where, as an added bonus, I will be surrounded by what promises to be a hideous campus.

Then again, I think my biggest priority is avoiding happiness. Who needs happiness? George Bernard Shaw said that a lifetime of happiness would be hell on earth, and George Bernard Shaw would know. That’s why he didn’t go to Brown.

Sure, there might be more to college than simply being surrounded by attractive buildings, or happy people, or politically conscious people, or great parties, or great extracurriculars, or active Greek life. After all, there’s some reason we go to college beyond whether or not it seems like it would be fun.

I just can’t seem to bring it to mind.

By Alexandra Petri  | August 2, 2010; 6:59 PM ET
Categories:  Petri  | Tags:  Alexandra Petri  
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Hmmmmmmmm; hmmmmmmmmmm.

Good humor and college life. I remember...

Posted by: lavrentii | August 2, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Want to study hard, spend Friday nights in the library, be active in the Astronomy Club and have a degree that is both respected and coveted? You went there?...You must be smart!

I highly recommend my alma mater: Carnegie Mellon University...a superior "resume" school where the parties are great but the education far better. That is why you go to college, isn't it??????

Posted by: carolineC1 | August 3, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Really, CarolineC1? I assumed we went to college to further our education, including that of proper punctuation.

Posted by: ttwiggle | August 3, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

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