Does Huffington's top 10 matter?


Macalester College recently made “The Huffington Post’s” list of “The Most Intellectual Colleges,” an approbation worthy of both pride and criticism. Some Mac students develop an inferiority complex because of the lack of recognition the school gets relative to other schools of equal caliber. Ask anyone from outside the upper midwest about Macalester, and you’ll probably get a blank stare. Ask the same person about any large state university or other schools comparable to Mac such as Bucknell, Occidental, or Boston College and you’ll almost always get nods of acknowledgement. The same goes for schools such as Carleton, Reed and Grinnell, all of which also made the list. So why is it that some of the most intellectual schools are seemingly less recognized than they should be? As self-righteous and masturbatory as this may sound, schools with highly intellectual atmospheres attract students that are purists; they learn because they love to learn, not solely because they want to have a prestigious career with a high paying salary. Moreover, social life at many “big name” schools is surprisingly vapid and homogenous (drinking, talking about how awesome drinking is, taking pictures with big fake smiles and one hand on a hip, and so on) considering their tough academic standards for admission. Mac definitely has its own trends and culture-some aspects of which could definitely be criticized-but the difference that “The Huffington Post” hits spot on is the out-of-class experience. Students at Mac continue their learning and intellectual discussions outside the classroom-it is a crucial aspect of our school culture and one that is worthy of praise.

Being hyper-intellectual also has its drawbacks. For example, many recent graduates and current seniors express their sense of fear of entering a dilapidated labor market with a non-vocational, liberal arts degree. Although this fear is mostly unwarranted and exaggerated, the jealously of those who go to schools that virtually guarantee their students with a job or at least a clear career path after college is understandable. Whether it be a school like North Dakota State that offers a wide array of vocational majors or schools like Harvard, Penn State, and USC that have killer alumni networks and a reputation for finding their graduates awesome jobs with high salaries, there is something to be lost in an academic climate that emphasizes pure intellectualism and the love of learning over practicality.

Are we just whining and looking for recognition like a little kid begging his parents to watch him do a flip off the diving board? Yes. Well, sort of. Overall, the educational experience here is overwhelmingly positive and effectively prepares students for life after graduation. The Mac Weekly is proud to be part of a school that so heavily emphasizes intellectualism.