With all the hoo-hah about rigged admissions to prestige colleges, I thought I would add a very long-term reflection on the process.
My Father was Amherst Class of 1912 (yes, he was born in 1890). His whole interpretation of what a college education meant was just, duh, accepted by me as a little kid, though resisted when it came time for me to do the thing myself.
For Dan Miles, the product of a relatively old-elite family in MA, a college degree certified your presence in the higher WASP orders. Very few were intended to get them.
For Milo Miles, the product of a relatively farmland-elite family in MT, a college degree was what the majority of high-school graduates who had their shit together needed for at least a middle-class future.
I’ve mentioned on Twitter how the news of a gay-rights demonstration at Amherst kept my dad from insisting I go there (that wasn’t all — he sensed that there was more freedom of choice for young-uns at the end of the ’60s). I decided that “going away” to college would shred my worthwhile MT roots (there’s more to it, but Nunya), so went to both MSU Bozeman and U of M Missoula.
I got the degree, with a couple buffs added. Dad died the next year (at 85). I’ve always thought that part of it was that he was determined to hang on until I got that college certificate, which meant that my work life would be taken care of from then on. At once a nice and nasty dream.