Back to School
Lukas prepares for career and life
My German tech-man Lukas is at a crossroads. He’s 20 and enjoying his gap year here in the States after finishing Gymnasium (the ‘Gym’ part pronounced as in “vodka gimlet”; they’re the highest-ranked high schools in the German system), but soon he’ll have to decide whether to pursue tertiary education in America or Germany. Lukas is an intelligent young man of much faith, hope and optimism, and seems to have an innocent confidence that he can somehow waltz right into the school that best suits him, as if the system was designed to make the most of his talents, heh. I keep reminding him that he is white, male, straight, and not rich, will will make the better schools tough to get into, if not cancel him completely. “Lukas, you’ll have to add some colorful pronouns to your application to have a chance at a good college!”
It’s charming and heartwarming to watch him shrug off my cynicism and cheerfully consider all his options without worrying about the woke juggernaut at our universities.
“What would be the best university for studying physics?” asks Lukas.
-Well, my alma-mater, UW, is pretty good in the sciences. The UC schools have a good reputation. UCLA, Berkeley, UCSD, etc. Oh, and you already visited Santa Barbara. I think UCSB is ranked in the top 20 in physics.
I was just making conversation, really, pretending that we were back in the slightly-sane pre-covid world again. I knew that UW and all the UCal schools required the jab, and Lukas is somewhat averse to infertility.
-Oh wow, I wouldn’t mind going to school in Santa Barbara!
-But you’re not rich, Lukas! Do you know how much apartment rent is in Santa Barbara?
-That’s true. Hey, what about M.I.T.?
-M.I.T.!? Who are you, Werner von Braun? Aiming pretty high, aren’t we?
-Well, why not?
-M.I.T. has got to be top five in physics, maybe top 2. I heard once they are always in a battle with Cal Tech for top spot.
-Really? Where’s Cal Tech?
Lukas’ eyes lit up; he enjoyed his trip to Southern Cal. I think he’s pretty fond of the beach scene. He got excited about Cal Tech and wanted to look into it a little. “You gotta be more or less an Einstein to get into Cal Tech,” I said with a wry shrug, “It’s probably 80% Chinese eggheads.” That didn’t phase him, and in the afternoon he did some research. A bit crestfallen, he came back and said, “They make you get the jab.” I checked the site, and like everywhere else “Covid-19 Information” is the first thing you see among the top links. And sure enough, you gotta have the the clot-shot. All those brilliant kids lining up for their jabbypoo. Our nation’s (and some of China’s) finest students, and they are too dumb to look at the statistics and see they don’t need the experimental poison. Or is there something I don’t know; maybe they spare Cal Tech students with the saline batches of the Moderna and Pfizer, for even a tyranny needs to have its engineers to keep everything running. Lukas went back to research other schools and discovered for himself that it’s the same in the UC system- gotta have the jab.
“Look, junior,” I said, “why not get your undergrad degree on the cheap out here in fly-over country, then after you’re top in your class you can go get your masters at a prestigious university, and maybe by then they’ll have ended the jab requirements.”
Lukas likes Montana and the strong purple-state values the people stand for here, so he’s putting some thought to that idea. Neither MSU in Bozeman nor UofM up/down the road from us in Missoula require the cull-shot. (I don’t know whether to say up or down when referring to a drive to Missoula. It’s up if you look at a map and run your finger north, but down if you consider elevation, being downriver. However, they get more snow, as if higher in elevation. Whateva.)
A couple days ago we had an errand to run in Missoula; I had to pick up Stan’s Subaru at the auto body shop, to replace the front panel that got cracked when I thumped a doe on deer-death alley here near home. Lukas gave me a lift, and when I picked up the Subaru, instead of following me for a shopping run at Costco (yippee), he opted to drive to the University to check things out. There weren’t many students around campus, but there was some kind of an orientation for foreign students. He met a kid from Morocco and another from Albania or something.
He took some pictures around campus. There wasn’t much life in the physics building, but all the offices in the Student Union building were open, and he got a little taste for the vibrant atmosphere at UofM.
I wonder if this is the kind of stuff ol’ Jeannette Rankin would stand for.
DW Shumway will find it tough to get a job in corporate America, after posts like this. Consider helping him with his Costco bill and becoming a paid subscriber.