A quick scroll through any newsfeed or timeline will likely be littered with viral YouTube videos- anything from singing cats, to funny toddlers to political stances. It’s become second nature to share a YouTube video instead of expressing an opinion, simply because the YouTube video accomplishes the same thing, and has visual and audio components.
A recent flood of newsfeeds everywhere has been the “Honest University Commercial” uploaded by youtube user “nigahiga”. The 3-minute video is essentially an advertisement for a fake university, but the name suggests it’s tone has universal implications; pronounced Ev-RYE (but implying every). It has been online for just over two weeks and at the press time of publication has 3,768.908 page views.
There’s a reason for it’s success. It’s sarcastic, it’s witty, it’s quick paced, and to a degree- it’s right.
The video talks about rising tuition prices; the unsecure job market, the mandatory elective courses and the insane amounts of stress, studying and sacrifices every university student goes through. It’s intent is to show universal student struggles and it does so by simply talking about almost every student concern in order to make it’s point; it highlights various aspects of student life that every student is likely to experience, such as ridiculous required classes, unconventional sleeping patterns, and the quintessential partying that should be taking place during one’s twenties.
The clip makes you think critically about the machine that a university is. Tuition prices are ridiculous; stress levels are nothing to joke about and there are several other pieces of the puzzle that add up to a picture of a money grabbing sham that doesn’t guarantee students a job or real future. It’s easy to relate to and therefore easy to take as an absolute.
However, the video shows one side of the conversation and there is definitely more than one voice at the table of post secondary education. What the clip does not showcase is all of the benefits of going to a university. Nowhere in the commercial does it talk about life-long or even four-year strong friendships; nowhere does it have a frame that talks about the benefits of getting involved with a community of learners. There is no mention of the opportunities that come out of going through a degree- there is no discussion of how much school is essentially another growing phase. Although the video highlights how fun university life is- it does not mention the time spent in it is supposed to be an enriching experience.
Who ever said that pursuing post-secondary education is easy? Who ever said that anyone could do it? Who ever said that university was the ONLY way to find success- well, probably a lot of people. But if you really believed that statement, you would be of those individuals who drop out after sometime because they realize the structure isn’t for them.
But you didn’t, you’re still here.
Who ever said that just because you have a degree, you deserve a stable job? While that diploma definitely shows that you have a degree, it doesn’t necessarily show what you’re like in a work environment, and nor does it entitle you to walk into a entry level position. It shows you have a degree; what you do with that degree is on you. Yes, the job market is tough, but it’s supposed to be competitive. Yes, student debt is awful, but there are ways to get through it- with time, hard work and budgeting. Yes, content is heavy to absorb, but that doesn’t mean you stop trying to learn.
Those who work hard enough, network and never give up (or even reroute their career opportunities), do catch a break at some point. Call me naïve, but I think everything happens for a reason, but I also think that when you work hard, you get results. Furthermore, when you make the most of a tiresome situation, you’re more likely to run into success than you are defeat.
“EveRy University” makes some valid points, but cannot be taken as the only way to look at schooling. The fact is, the opportunity to enroll in a post-secondary education program is a gift not granted to many. While we can complain about anything it offers, there are individuals all over the world- even in our own cities- that are not as fortunate to take on such opportunities.