Homeschool Valedictorian

Trigger warning: if you homeschool your child, you probably won’t like this article, because I’m about to make fun of you and your child. Please skip it, and go read something else. You’ve been warned.

For generations, “school” was the place where you sent your kids to get book learnin’. As a society, we decided back in 1892 or 1761 or something—I don’t know, I didn’t pay attention in history class—that we would benefit from having a literate populace that could count higher than the number of fingers they had. This became especially important during the Industrial Revolution, as people started losing fingers at never-before-seen rates.

Society also decided that school needed to be mandatory through a certain age. We wanted to make sure that there was a disincentive to pulling little Jethro out of 5th grade to come back to the farm and run the combine. You know, disincentive besides the fact that he’s 11 and you’re putting him in charge of a genuine (pronounced, “gin-yew-whine”) turn-of-the-century Jethro dissector.

Over time, state governments started having approved curricula. Each state wanted to make sure that every locality was teaching the same basics, like how many furlongs there are in a league. Eventually, the feds got involved as well. This was to validate that Alabama wasn’t teaching about Jesus riding a brontosaurus through Jerusalem, while Georgia insisted it was a stegosaurus. We have to get everyone together if we’re going to be a cohesive republic, y’all.

All of this pesky government intrusion had a few really positive side effects.

First, the vast majority of our population knows how to read, write, add, subtract, and spot a dweeb from 100 paces—super important if you want to remain cool.

[bctt tweet=”Eventually the feds got involved as well. This was to validate that Alabama wasn’t teaching about Jesus riding a brontosaurus through Jerusalem, while Georgia insisted it was a stegosaurus. #homeschool” via=”no”]

Second, jobs that would have gone for zero pay to Jethro, now go to an adult to support his family, at least until he dies in a predictable combine accident.

Third, rather than having a society full of weird pre-Rumspringa Amish people, we created a never-ending army of bold, socially competent human beings. And those socially competent humans all share a common experience—attending essentially similar schools—with 97% of the rest of the people in our country.

Why only 97%, you ask? Because 3% of the students in our country are presently being homeschooled. “Homeschool” sounds like a movie from the ‘80’s starring pre-success Tom Hanks and Judge Reinhold. I wish it were so, namely because I’m positive that with those two lovable thespians, it would have been an easy two thumbs up from Siskel & Ebert (peace be upon them).

Homeschool is where parents decide against entrusting their child’s education to well-educated, professionally trained, and state-certified faculty. Instead, the parents elect to teach their child themselves. You know, like taking a crack at a do-it-yourself angioplasty instead of letting the doctor do it. I mean, what harm could come from being completely unqualified for this undertaking, right? How hard could it be? It’s just a kid’s malleable brain, after all!

Now, before you go losing your got-dam minds on me, I’m not challenging the reasoning behind homeschooling your child if it’s medically or psychologically advisable. If your child has a learning disability or autism spectrum disorder and your school district lacks adequate programming, good on you for taking your child’s education into your own hands.

The vast majority of children in homeschool aren’t there because of anything specific to the child; rather, they are there because their parents have a different (read: fatally skewed) understanding of the cost/benefit calculation of letting their kids attend school.

I’ll explain. I bet you’re all taking a deep breath, relieved that I wasn’t ending the article without explaining. Relax, guys, I’m extremely full of myself. You never have to worry about me forfeiting an opportunity to fill your screen with my words that I learned in institutions of learning other than homeschool.

I’ve already laid out the benefits to widespread, government-approved schooling: (1) a literate society, (2) less kids getting dissected by farm equipment, (3) adults getting jobs that would otherwise be taken by soon-to-be-chopped-up kids, (4) ability to look another human in the eye and speak without losing continence, and (5) common experience with the rest of society.

Those are some mighty fine benefits, Virgil. Mighty fine, indeed. Reckon the schools would have to collect a king’s ransom to provide such genteel instruction?

No, Kentucky Colonel, it’s all free, and my name is not Virgil.

Well, we all pay for education in the form of property taxes, but you’re paying those irrespective of whether you have a child or not. And you’re paying even if you choose not to send your kids to school. Factoring that out, attending thirteen years of public school is free. So, there are lots of benefits, both to the child and to society, and a monetary cost of zero.

Now, what are those hidden costs that tip the scale away from such an obvious answer?

As a nation, we decided back in 1791 (I was awake for this day in History class) that Congress would be prohibited from making any law pertaining to the establishment of religion. Over the years, we’ve said through our courts that the separation of church and state applies to lots of things, including publicly funded schools. That means that your kid’s school isn’t going to have morning prayer, chapel, or in-depth theological teaching from any religion. Instead, the teachers are going to stick to teaching non-religious curricula.

This is an affront to certain members of the evangelical Christian community. These folks want their children (and your Muslim, Jewish, atheist, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Wiccan, Hindu, Christian-but-the-liberal-kind, and Zoroastrian children) to be taught every subject as if Jesus Christ himself was on the State Board of Education. The Bible (pronounced: BAH-bull) should be read in school. Each day should start with a prayer to Christ – and not some weird Catholic prayer to Mary or some new age prayer where you sub in feminine pronouns to show your inclusivity. In this town, we pray to the God who keeps the NASCAR drivers safe, keeps your ammo dry in the deer stand, and makes sure none of those dirty, diseased refugees come over to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. This is a Christian country, Goddammit.

But it’s not just about praying and reading the Bible. Evangelicals are worried that their child will be exposed to liberal, secular, research-based, ushering-in-of-the-end-times teaching if they go to public school.

[bctt tweet=”In this town, we pray to the God who keeps the NASCAR drivers safe, keeps your ammo dry, and makes sure none of those dirty refugees come over to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. This is a Christian country, Goddammit.” via=”no”]

In public school, your kids won’t be taught the truth of so many things, like:

  • George Washington was specifically picked by God to start America as a Christian nation;
  • The Earth is only 6,000 years old, and fossils are planted by godless liberal scientists to confuse Christians;
  • Sex before marriage will condemn you to hell, and there is no safe way to explore your sexuality that will not destroy your life;
  • God sent the settlers west across North America to bring His message to the savage Indians so they could go to Heaven, too;
  • Evolution was just a theory made by a communist heathen that is incompatible with the teachings of God found in Genesis.

However, if you keep your kid at home, you can craft his or her education to teach all of this and so much more. And you can do it without having to worry about offending some snowflake feminist libtards! Done right, you can shelter your child from learning anything that scientists, historians, geographers, or astronomers have discerned over human history that doesn’t match up with your specific worldview.

Another cost to going to public school is the forced interaction with “the minorities” or whatever we’re supposed to call them these days. Now, you’re not a racist, you watch How To Get Away With Murder and Scandal. But you’d just rather not have your child getting distracted by all of the problems that come with having kids from other races bogging down the class.

As a homeschool parent, you’ll never have to worry about that. Your children will only meet and befriend those who you deem appropriate. No more worrying about your kid hanging out with the wrong crowd. The odds of your daughter dating anyone who understands the lyrics to Despacito are nil. Praise God!

Lastly, parents are put on this planet to protect their children through to adulthood. Every second the kids are out of your sight is a second they might be getting into trouble, contracting Ebola from a refugee, or learning about “science.” As a responsible parent, keeping your child in homeschool during their formative years ensures that none of those horrible outcomes will befall your family. Your son or daughter will grow in God’s love under your watchful eye. And your relationship with them will be so close, which will come in handy when they go to community college in your town but never move out of your house. That’s also known as “homeschool 2.0.”

Sure, the lack of socialization for any human will result in immense difficulty in maintaining relationships, employment, and mental health throughout life. But it’s a small price to pay, especially when you consider it in contrast to the near 100% certainty of your child going directly to Hell otherwise.

In the end, parents must choose what’s best for their families.

For most, sending your son or daughter to free public school is a no-brainer: education, socialization, cultural indoctrination, and rectangle pizza, all for free (well, the pizza is like $2, but the rest is free – let’s just say it’s comparable to the price of a Lunchable, which you were going to have to buy for your kid anyway, okay?).

For a select few, it makes more sense to ignore the offer of free, professional, research-backed instruction in order to make sure your kid is permanently “the weird kid” for the rest of their life.

Just know that whichever route you pick, your precious child (well-adjusted or not, resentful or not, oedipal-complex-having or not) will someday put you in a nursing home. You probably want it to be a nice nursing home, so choose wisely!

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Want to read more right this second, you impatient homeschool student, you? Here you go: Men, We Have To Do Better.  Or maybe you’ll prefer this one: A Letter To My Younger Self. Or how about this one: 6 Lies About Immigrants Trump Hopes You Believe

25 thoughts on “Homeschool Valedictorian

  1. PREACH!!! (I love irony.)
    I’m not sure why, but every time you use the word “irrespective,” it makes my eye twitch a little bit. Then I think, well, at least it wasn’t “irregardless.” (Which spellcheck just let fly, probably because it was homeschooled. Spellcheck, you can fuck all the way right off; “irregardless” is NOT a word. We were looking for “regardless” [whispering “regardless” again] but thanks for playing our game. We have some terrible parting gifts for you. One of which is a fluffy bear that says “supposeably” every hour on the hour. We’ve glued the battery compartment shut. You’re welcome.)
    Whoa, my brain just wandered off again. (Sorry about that.)
    AND — I love parentheses a little too much.

    • Haha – irregardless of all of that, and irrespective of my use of the non-word irregardless just then, thanks for reading my stuff! I’ve warned homeschool people not to read it, one already has but fortunately he’s a friend and left it at “it’s funny and reads like a comedy act, but homeschooling had its pros and cons.” I’ll accept that. I’m waiting for someone to lose their shit on me – I’m sure it’s coming. Stay tuned!

      • Well, my husband was homeschooled for a couple years because (get this) he was expelled from Christian school. And THEN went back to public school to finish high school. He laughed, so I think you’ll be fine.

        • Anyone who gets kicked out of Christian school is probably a bad-ass, so I’m already a fan. Glad he liked it and didn’t want to send me hate mail or, worse, thoughts and prayers.

  2. This entry makes stunning good sense. Too bad homeschoolers will self censor and their captive children won’t find it until their mid-thirties. But that’s ok, by then they’ll be in counselling trying to figure out why they “don’t Belong” anywhere. This just might be what they need to shake them out from under Mommy’s wings.

    • Thanks! It’s doubtful the kiddos will get to read it as long as they are captives of the Kim Jong Un regime…oh, I mean their overbearing mothers. I had 2 dogs once – one I socialized the hell out of from puppyhood, and one that I was lazy about (I got them 8-9 months apart, I wasn’t being a weird dog psychology experimenter). The socialized one was 100x better with people and dogs. Humans aren’t dogs, but both humans AND dogs are social animals and need social cues to learn “how to be.”

  3. Why on earth go to the community college in town when you can attend a much more expensive yet non accredited Christian university primarily to meet your husband and learn how to be a good wife? That community college isn’t GODLY.

    I know several people who homeschool – some for religion, some because they aren’t religious but think the structure corrupts their children’s creativity and spirit (!) and another bc she has a trans child going through a rough time. Only one of these parents is sane.

    The pioneer woman’s kiddos seem okay, but I think their local school is a billion miles away. And the farm. And they’re religious but seem to be of the decent sort. The oldest went to a public university so I’m cautiously optimistic.

    • I forgot about the evangelical Christian college angle. It baffles me. It’s not as if Christians weren’t getting admitted into colleges based on their religion. If you want to be a minister, by all means, go to a school that focuses intently on your religion. You’ll need that level of in-depth education. But if you want to be anything else, why would you spend $30-40k a year to go to a school that’s number one claim to fame is that it’s hyper religious? Wouldn’t it make more sense to go to State U for 1/4 the money, and join a church when you get there? Not to mention you’re going to surround yourself with ONE worldview, defeating half of the purpose of going to college. I just don’t get it. Probably because I’m possessed by a demon from listening to heavy metal when I as a teenager, what with all of the “hail Satan” backmasking going on.

  4. In the great, red state of Florida you can choose to have your tax dollars go towards tuition in a private, religious (or non-religious) school. We also allow “charter” schools, which are largely for-profit property-grab schemes funded by tax dollars at the expense of regular schools.


  5. Rickey, love you blog! Had to smile at this and….would like to provide an alternative thought on this based on my step-daughter’s experience. First, she is not a religious person (although her husband is a recovering Catholic). They live in a mid-size blue collar town in the Northeast. She was all set to send her 2 daughters to public school until……they were tested in kindergarten. Both girls were 3 grade levels ahead of others at their age (for example both were reading at a 3rd grade level in kindergarten). The school system told her that even in their gifted program, they would not be able to meet the girls intellectual needs. Since they could not afford private school, she started researching home schooling and they made a decision to keep the girls at home for the first few grades. She has a masters in fine arts – not that a graduate degree qualified her to instruct the girls. To her credits she did copious research, found a considerable about of resources available in the home schooling community, especially online (culling out those resources that were mostly Christian based teachings). Except for her dad and me, no one in the family supported her doing this. It was daunting for her, especially in the beginning but given she didn’t want the girls to have a mediocre education given how gifted they were, she immersed herself. Cut to bottom line, it hasn’t been a perfect experience (what is?) but especially for the eldest, she’s excelled academically, and graduated high school at 14. My step daughter started a home school with a community of parents, where they brought the kids together, some mothers taught specific subjects, and they brought in retired teachers/professors on topics that seemed to require that (such as biology, physics, and more advanced math). Most of the home schoolers/parents were Mormons, which was amusing to my stepdaughter since she is a-religious. But the girls made some friends and 2 times a week had classes with the other children. There are down sides – the youngest who is now 12, is more a kinesthetic learner, and gregarious. Not sure her social needs are totally met but they participate in a city wide choir, have music lessons/recitals, dance classes. No athletics because that wasn’t valued (I might disagree since the youngest has a lot of energy but not my call). My stepdaughter disbanded the school last year because disagreements arose between the Christian/Mormon mothers and her and a couple of more secularly oriented parents on appropriate curriculum/topics/projects for teens. For example since Mormon girls are prepared primarily to only go to college to meet and marry young and stay home, some advanced curricula was rejected because the mothers didn’t think their daughters needed the academic rigor of subjects they’d never use as stay at home moms. There were also issues about some, let’s say more controversial topics that were considered to develop critical thinking skills and/or were focused on values based learning. The conflicts couldn’t be resolved so she disbanded the school and continues on alone with her youngest. I can see the plusses and minuses of home schooling versus public education. It takes enormous commitment on the part of parents to do this WELL. But it’s not always a bad thing. Our eldest granddaughter is too young to start college but she is taking online college courses and doing volunteer work, as well as hanging out with her best friend. There are concerns she needs more socialization and it’s difficult. There are home schoolers who thrive and go on to excel in universities – our stepdaughter says many colleges welcome enthusiastically home schooled children. Many tend to be more disciplined in study habits, academics and focused. I worry that the girls have been sheltered and wonder when they go off to college how they will fare socially. They haven’t had to deal with the usualmiddle school/teen issues of “fitting in”, subject to mean girls, bullying, drugs, sex, etc. But not all home schooling is bad, just like there are school systems which are not academically rigorous. It’s not for everyone, but our granddaughters’ experiences have been more positive than negative and don’t fit into the stereotype that home schooling is done mostly by Christian/ultra religious families who want to avoid the more secular education offered by public schools. Yes that is more the rule than the exception; but this was an exception. The girls are independent, weren’t subject to rote learning and a bunch of memorization, have developed critical thinking skills, and are intellectually curious….doing a great deal of self-learning based on their interests that will probably stay with them throughout adulthood.

    • Hi Barbara, thanks for reading and for your comments! I don’t doubt there are exceptions to my overarching point. Sounds like your step-daughter’s situation with her kids is a perfect example. And I agree with you 100% – it depends on the parent, and it takes a ton of work to do it right. I did a teacher certification program, student teaching, etc., (was thinking about a career change, ended up getting 3/4 of the way through and got a job offer in my field that I couldn’t pass up) and I can tell you…teaching is WAY harder than people think it is. I can only imagine that teaching your own child would be that much more difficult. I can guarantee you there are plenty of moms and dads homeschooling their kids who, without the accountability of coming to work and having it be their job, are taking easy days/field trips/movies/skipping lessons they don’t understand, etc. Not to mention the socialization aspect – how many parents are just blowing that part off and saying, “well, sure, she’s a frickin’ weirdo, but that’s just how she is!” not realizing they’re sentencing their daughter to a life of difficulty in a society that values extroversion and interpersonal interaction.

  6. While some of your statements might have some justified reasoning behind them, the overall statistical results of homeschooled kids vs public school kids point to a better education of homeschooled kids.

    • Hi! Thanks for reading my post! Here’s my two cents: (1) I’d be interested in seeing the sources of those statistics. I am sure statistics supporting homeschooling exist (as do statistics opposing it), I am just curious as to your sources. (2) I don’t doubt that a dedicated parent CAN give a better academic education to a child in the right situation. My overarching point is that the kid misses out on the socialization aspects of going to school day in, day out. There’s a lot more to success than being educated, obviously. And I’ll throw in a third cent: What about the parents who suck at homeschooling? What about the moms and dads who have good intentions but life derails them? What about the moms and dads who don’t know what they don’t know, and find out at their child’s expense that there’s a TON more to teaching than understanding subject matter? How many of those parents understand pedagogy? How many understand child development AND can remain dispassionate in assessing their little pride and joy? Those are real issues that, when they are not addressed, harm kids AND society as a whole.

  7. I found this humorous, and almost laughed out loud a couple of times. As someone who was homeschooled from preschool through graduation by Christian parents, I would like to make a couple of (admittedly personal) points.
    A) I never had any problems with socialization. In fact, my mom felt it necessary to warn me multiple times that not all adults were “nice,” due to my propensity for striking up conversations with anyone and everyone, wherever I went.
    B) People with the smallest axe to grind are generally heard the least. I’m a Christian, and I don’t want children in government-funded schools to be made to learn any particular religion. The purpose of public school should be education, not indoctrination. They should (in my opinion) learn the basic history of the major world religions. “Just the facts, ma’am!” Many of my fellow species who are personally known to me feel the same or similarly. We just don’t scream about it all day on social media, because we have better things to do with our lives than get into pointless arguments with our crazier friends on both sides of the issues.
    C) My best friends throughout childhood were Japanese (she was also homeschooled) and Mexican (she was not homeschooled), one of my favorite adults was a black cop, my parents’ current pastor is the son of Indian immigrants, and my husband is a super hot Latino. You can find racists in any group if you look hard enough, but I’ve never personally known race to be a factor in why people chose to homeschool their children. The rest of your points I can at least understand, but I’m honestly not sure how you came to that conclusion.
    D) A major concern for a lot parents is actually class size. There are many good teachers in the school system, but they’re almost all overworked and underpaid, and aren’t able to give much attention to children as individuals. Since different people have different learning styles, a one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t work for everyone. When I was in college, I took the time to explain things differently to one of my roommates than our professors did, and she told me it helped her understand the material much better after having that different wording and one-on-one input.

    Anyhow… I did appreciate your humor, and I hope you won’t paint all us combine-owning redneck Christians with the same brush. We have as much variety as any other group of people. (In case you were wondering, I don’t actually have a combine…just a garden and some milking goats. Lol.)
    Have a great day, and keep up the blogging!

  8. Pingback: I Had 99 Posts But Now I Have 100. | Hitting the Trifecta

  9. I am a homeschooling mom and found this post hilarious. I really enjoy your humor.
    We aren’t a Christian family (actually not religious at all) so most of this doesn’t seem to apply. I would like to address the socialization aspect of your post. Keep in mind, I am only speaking of the dedicated homeschooling parents. Socialization is not an issue with homeschoolers. They have plenty of opportunities to interact with humans. There are massive amounts of homeschoolers out there and (thanks to social media) they are incredibly easy to find. I have homeschooled in a teensy town in southern Alabama (and met plenty of those Christian only types of homeschoolers) and I’m currently homeschooling a hour outside of Los Angeles. In both areas there are so many homeschooling groups that if we attended every gathering we would literally never do any actual school work. Plus my kids take the usual extracurricular classes like gymnastics and horse back riding. My children are able to see how I (a full grown adult) act in social situations rather than learning their mannerisms from people their exact age. And yes, my kids are weird. But I’m weird, too, so they really didn’t have a chance. I was public schooled and I am still weird.
    In a public school setting children are trained that every adult is an authority figure and anyone their own age is a peer. Once those kids are out in the “real world” they will find that to not be the case. In a job setting you might have a boss younger than you. Or you might be the boss of someone much older than yourself. This was exceptionally strange for me when I was 19 and working as a manager at a fast food joint. All of the employees under me were a good 20 years my senior. It was difficult to issue orders to people that I had been trained to take orders from. Very, very rarely in the not-related-to-school world will you be in a situation where everyone is exactly your own age. And you usually don’t have to ask permission to pee. My kids are regularly expected to interact with people of all ages. Some are adults that are not an authority figure and some are way younger than them. Homeschooling, public schooling, private, or whatever all good parents are just doing the best they can with what life has gave them.

    • Hubs and I are atheists. I use the k12 online program for our youngest. He began homeschooling last week. Our oldest is waitlisted. Our boys are 12 and nine. We grew tired of the seven years of bullying (from fellow students and passive aggressively from teachers) nationalism, and continual, blatant prostylization. They have both been in the same public school district since kindergarten. Living in western Tennessee is quite difficult for us. This current change in our kids’ education is a last ditch effort. We’ll give it a couple of years. If remaining here is still difficult, we’ll consider moving far away from the South and the Midwest.

  10. *yawn*
    Good writing style. Interesting read. Nearly Choked on laughter sometimes.

    -A Christian Homeschooler with 7 A*s in O levels, in the State Strings Orchestra, and entering the national qualifiers for cycling.

    • Well, I’m sorry you missed the disclaimer and elected to read this article against my warnings. But since you did, I’ll say this: the only people who are offended and feel “judged” are (1) people who fit the descriptions dead-on, but are embarrassed to be identified as such, and (2) the tiny minority who are homeschooled/homeschooling their offspring, don’t fit the descriptions, but are sensitive about being lumped in with the rest of their cohort.

      For what it’s worth, there’s a nugget of truth in every joke and in every criticism. If my jokes and criticism stung you, suspend your butthurt, and examine whether there are any nuggets of uncomfortable truth from which you can grow. If there AREN’T, so be it, and move on.


      • You don’t get to make general assumptions about a group of people and then tell offended people to not be “butt hurt”. The group that you seem to lump all homeschoolers in actually makes up 2/3 of homeschooling families. The other 1/3 are secular homeschoolers, and our numbers are rising. Also, you knew by typing out your “disclaimer” that homeschooling parents or children would read it to see what ridiculousness you were going to spout off. It’s clear you actually know nothing about the modern homeschool movement that has nothing to do with religion or shielding children from science and facts. YOU shouldn’t get offended when there’s pushback.

  11. Think about this, how would you like it if you came across a blog post that claimed that ALL white men voted for Trump? Absurd, right? Well, that’s how I feel about what you did in this post. It’s absurd and simple minded to assume that all homeschool families are one way.

  12. As someone who has experience in restaurants, and also is a liberal leaning moderate I love your posts.
    However, this one feels a bit off, and no judgement! Because I know it’s your opinion, but I do wish you’d look at it through different perspectives, not only the conservative, tea party lens. If only because I am a 32 year old former homeschooler, and while I am oddly childlike and I missed a lot of things (I still don’t get 1990 sitcom references, than’s mom and dad!!), it’s not the worst. As you stated – there’s a reason for everything. As with all things there’s a fallacy in everything, especially when your opinions also could be reflected in private and charter schools.

    The funniest part is that I am now a teacher in public schools, and I met a handful of students in my University Education program who also had been homeschooled (HS). I’m sure there’s a research study in there somewhere about why HS students become public school teachers.

    I will be the first to stand up and say that homeschooling now is far more diverse than it ever has been previously. It’s less about religion than it used to be. These days HS students no longer rely on their parents to teach them, they’re not dragged to convention sized curriculum fairs and most aren’t involved in the choosing of any curriculum their taught (all things done in my HS group growing up – p.s. our state-wide HS convention was always held at a Disneyland resort…it was magical even if we only ever saw the inside of the hotel ballrooms).

    While your view is reflective of what I know, those who HS do tend to be regionally influenced as well. CA homeschoolers are very different than AZ homeschoolers are different from AK homeschoolers. (based on my personal experience).

    Good write up, if a bit dated views. Here is one stereotype I’ll throw you: a lot of us homeschoolers were always the try-hards in any college class. We often dressed more conservatively and we more often than not were avid readers of Tolkien. My brother and I often made fun of how accurate this stereotyping was in our ability to pick out fellow homeschoolers once we entered into the ‘social realm’ of college. 😉

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