Every year, parents send their sons and daughters away to college hoping they will study hard, find a core group of friends, and experience the time of their lives as they prepare for their future endeavors.
We were no different. We sent our youngest off to a small Lutheran college in the midwest. We expected some level of culture shock since he grew up on the east coast. But frankly, I believed the culture shock would be something like, “I can’t believe how friendly midwesterners are!”
Jake chose the school after attending a weekend on campus during the previous October. It was for students who planned to pursue a church-related vocation. He aspires to become a Lutheran pastor.
We didn’t see the school before he commited to it as a family wedding had been planned for the same weekend.
But we trusted his choice. The school is smack in the middle of a major midwestern city. An oasis of learning and Christian brotherhood right in the middle of a urban culture and sophistication.
And then I saw it. Okay, compared to the colleges my other two sons attended, it was a tad…minimal.
No facilities for recreation save a single pool table in the basement of the “Student Union” which consists of a dining hall and the smallest bookstore I’d ever seen.
No swimming pool–they decided to give their D-3 athletes an extra work-out room, so they filled in the old pool.
The dining hall left little to be desired–Grade D/barely edible food served by cantankerous staff.
There is a Subway on campus, but no other quick-serve food options.
Need toothpaste? Better ask Mom to mail it to you. There are no places to buy incidentals on campus and off campus? Get ready for the homeless population to accost you if you leave campus. Kind of like being in Jamaica–you’re okay if you stay at the resort–if you leave, well, good luck.
But he gave it the old college try. Determined to like it, Jake threw himself into several theatrical productions–in one of which he had the lead.
There, he met kids in a variety of majors who said, “I’m really surprised you’re Pre-Sem, Jake. You’re not an asshole like the rest of them.”
Determined to fit in, Jake attended events for pre-sem students. He went to daily chapel. He tried to engage others.
And yet he felt invisible. Still, he pressed on. But in the end, it got to him.
When he finally had a heart-to-heart with me, he admitted he felt like a monk at this particular college. A monk living in a solitary cell.
He also said that one of the most discouraging things about the school was The Dick House.
Now one might think the men who aspire to become pastors, the pre-seminary students, would be a brotherhood of sorts.
One would be wrong.
Jake quickly learned the pre-sem upper-classmen shared one thing only: a god complex.
Turns out, the residence hall the pre-sem upper-classmen share is known, informally, on campus as The Dick House.
Not because it is an all-male sausage fest of sorts.
No, it is called The Dick House because the guys who live there are total dicks. As in assholes. As in pompous bastards.
And, according to a person I spoke with in the college adminstration’s office, this is widely known by all on campus. This woman even had her own story to share regarding the rudeness of the pre-sem upper-classmen.
Wow. Just wow. Guess they never heard the phrase, What would Jesus do?
This week, we picked Jake up from college and brought him home.
In August, he will be attending a different Lutheran college. One where the best amenities involve open-hearts and warm smiles.
And the food there ain’t bad either.