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The Kids Don’t Want to Go to College Anymore, and Why Would They?

Gideon: Yeah, this is what I call the I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore doctrine of social change.

Paul: Exactly.

Gideon: Well, Paul, thank you very much for joining us on Have a Nice Future.

Paul: Thank you.


Gideon: Lauren, after listening to Paul talk, how do you feel about college? I mean, how does what he’s describing compare with the experience or the prospect of college that you grew up knowing?

Lauren: What is happening to the cost of higher education here in the United States feels criminal. I feel lucky to have been born and gone to college when I did. I honestly don’t know what I would do now. And I really, really feel for the kids, particularly disadvantaged kids. who have to make these kinds of decisions now.

Gideon: You studied? Remind me. You studied English?

Lauren: I studied, I studied the very, very applicable to real life English literature. My father really wanted me to go to law school. I mean, I had no means to pay for law school, by the way, even back then. I ultimately decided that wasn’t the path for me. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to work in media crazily enough. I’m still here.

Gideon: What would you study today if you were starting out again? Would it still be English? Would you go, oh no, I have to get into a STEM field? Would you go and do that law degree? What would it be?

Lauren: I don’t know if I would do STEM. I might minor in some kind of area of science or maybe computer science because of how valuable that is. I would do things slightly differently, certainly. You, as I recall, you studied physics. And philosophy. And philosophy, would you still do, first of all, would you still go to college today? This is 18-year-old Gideon right now, would you go to college and would you study the same fields?

Gideon: Are we imagining 18-year-old Gideon in the US or in the UK? Because this is relevant.

Lauren: US. You’re here, you’re stuck here.

Gideon: Uh, Lord, um, I mean, I think that since I have, assuming this 18-year-old kid is still scientifically minded, I think yes, I would go to college and I might not study physics. I might try to do something in either computer science or biology or a mixture of the two at least if I were smart enough to figure out that that’s where the world was going. But yeah, I think I would, but it would definitely feel like I should be thinking about what the earnings potential of my degree would be.

Lauren: So since you grew up in the UK and you’ve spent a lot of time living in different parts of the world, what would you say strikes you as the starkest difference right now between what’s going on in other nations? Let’s say specifically Europe and the UK versus the United States.

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