All over the world, college is hailed as education's endgame. You've worked hard throughout high school to earn top grades, polish a resumé that your parents only dreamed of having, and score as high as possible on every standardized test you have to take. The strategizing necessary to getting into the college of your choice probably rivals that necessary to succeed in American politics.
And yet, as someone who is about to enter her final year at a top university, I am here to break the bad news to you that, yes, everything you will learn in college could be easily acquired on iTunes for $9.99, tops. For those of you already paying $200,000 for higher education like myself, words don't begin to describe how sorry I am.
For those of you who haven't yet begun this expensive process, here's a sampling of what the iTunes store has to teach you at a much better price than the world's best schools:
1. How to get emotionally involved in a competition over who knows the biggest words
For just $1.99, you can enter into various and concurrent competitions with all of your friends to determine who can come up with the most esoteric words of predetermined lengths to get the most points. Why waste money on a meal plan to do this face-to-face with actual friends in a college dining hall? More importantly, why waste your activities fee to do this face-to-face in your university's debate society?
2. Time management
Before you set foot on campus and for the entirety of your time as an undergraduate, everyone from your academic dean to your peer advisor to your career center to your professors to your really annoying, on-top-of-it friend will be nagging you about time management. Why put yourself through all of this when you can download a free and easy app to manage your time for you?
3. How to talk really, really fast
Instead of paying to join speech and debate or to take classes where you have to fight for participation points with the most aggravating of overachievers, why not just pay $1.29 to download "Look At Me Now" and have Busta Rhymes show you how to talk faster and louder than everyone around you?
4. All of your coursework
Yeah, pretty much everything you'll learn in a class is available for free on iTunes U. Let that one sink in for a little bit.
5. How to not take yourself too seriously
Between crazy nights on the town, the self-loathing that comes with starting a paper with eight hours until it's due at 2 a.m., and the lack of care for your personal hygiene and appearance during finals, you'll learn that you're not as big a deal as you thought you were. Or, you could just snapchat selfies for free to your friends to learn this. Either way.
6. Where Tuvalu is on a map
Instead of taking a for-credit class pass/fail to learn the countries of the world, just download TapQuiz Maps World Edition for free. You'll learn more about geography from quiz games than you ever will in a class. Trust me.
7. How to be a BAMF
If you watch The Devil Wears Prada as many times as you can in the 24-hour rental period permitted by iTunes, you will learn and internalize everything you need to know about being a kickass HBIC. So much easier (and cheaper) than taking a management class.
At least in my case, The Devil Wears Prada can also double as an inexpensive alternative to therapy in a pinch, so there's that.
8. That 90s music is its own social currency
Who needs orientation icebreakers, awkward pregames, and student activities fairs when you could just spend $1.29 on any of the Backstreet Boys' greatest hits to make instant friends?
9. How to nap
No one should have to learn how to nap because they have x number of minutes to squeeze in extra sleep between classes. Just download a free timer, set it, and enjoy.
10. Learn how much walking you do when parking a car is too expensive
Why pay $20,000 per semester for to walk to classes when you could just download a free pedometer and watch your step count climb as you walk a mile just to get Dunkin' Donuts?
In short, the world (as seen through the prism of the iTunes store) is full of unexpected learning opportunities. Go seek them out!