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申请大学,父母大人是不是管得太多了?
#1
说实话,以前译者真的不知道美国家长也会这么管孩子.4万美金的咨询费,着实把译者惊着了.不过译者认为,美国的大学生活,对于这些孩子来说,确实意义重大.以前读过一篇对比中美大学生学习状态的文章,深有感触.文章中说,中国的大学生,因为从小学到高中,已经\"学伤了\",于是到了大学,觉得混日子是理所应当的事.译者认识那么多大学毕业的朋友,包括译者自己,都觉得大学生活显得过于苍白.而与此相比,美国的孩子们在大学以前,有大把可以自由支配的时间,于是他们在上大学前可以充分地认识自我,认识周遭,所以在进入大学后,他们所学习的大都是他们真正有兴趣的东西,兴趣能提供的动力不言自明.说了这么多,译者的意思就是,对于美国孩子来说,大学的教育对他们来说,绝不仅仅是一纸文凭那么简单,他们对大学生活为其人生带来的影响是十分看重的.这也就不难解释,为什么美国家长们会下这么多工夫在扶助孩子们申请大学上了. (当然,一切情况都有特例,美国也不乏一些混日子的大学生,而中国大学中,也肯定存在一些对人生有想法的孩子们)

Andrew Ferguson had deliberately avoided reading articlesabout the college-admissions process until he realized it was time for his sonGillum to apply to college. Since Ferguson's time as an undergrad, SAT prepcourses, high school schedules packed with AP courses and $40,000 collegecounselors had become the norm. Ferguson documented his and Gillum's journeythrough the jungle of college admissions in Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course inGetting His Kid into College. TIME spoke with Ferguson about parental anxietyand the much dreaded personal essay.
Andrew Ferguson先生一直在有意地回避那些介绍本科学校录取过程的文章,直到有一天他意识到自己得儿子Gillum也要申请大学了。自Ferguson先生的大学时代之后,SAT预备课程,高中设置得满满得AP课程(AdvancedPlacement 的缩写,中文翻译为美国大学先修课程,由美国大学理事会组织和指导,是具有大学课程难度的高中课程),以及4万美金的本科申请咨询费(这是一种私人服务,申请咨询师从学生8年级开始对其进行各种指导,协助其成功申请想要进入的大学)已经慢慢变得司空见惯。Ferguson先生于是把他和儿子Gillum的 “大学丛林之旅”写入了他的书《疯狂大学:一个老爸送儿子进大学的速成课程》中。时代杂志就家长焦虑和令人生畏的个人陈述(大学申请的材料之一)采访了 Ferguson先生。

Why write about the college application process?
为什么会写一本关于大学申请的书呢?

It brings together all these huge national themes likepersonal ambition and status anxiety and ideas of equality and opportunity.[And it combines those] with the most intimate feelings that people have, whichare their feelings as parents to do right by their kids.
因为它吸引了像个人野心,地位焦虑这样普遍存在于这个国家的主题,以及平等和机会的话题。[并且它把这些主题]和父母们一切为了为孩子的舐犊之心结合了起来。

Were you surprised by the way the process affected your ownbehavior?
你会不会对这个过程是如何影响你自己日常行为感到吃惊呢?

I realized that there was something irrational that I wasdoing as a parent. I was about to either go broke or go into debt in order toget my son into a school that I knew was overpriced and that would continue toraise its prices and that probably wouldn't deliver the product that they wereselling. We know two things about college from research in the last few years,and the first is that kids don't learn very much when they're there. The secondis that where they went to school has almost no influence on things like theirfuture happiness, job satisfaction, even income. But [regardless], I was stillwilling to knock myself out to try to get my kid into the kind of school thathe wanted to go to.
我意识到,作为一个家长,我在做一些不合逻辑的事:为了送我儿子进入大学学习,我不是要变得身无分文,就事要欠一屁股债。而同时我知道大学教育根本物非所值,而且学费很有可能不断涨价。在过去的两年中,我们了解到了关于大学的两件事。第一是,大学里,孩子们学不到多少东西。第二是,他们在哪上的大学对于他们今后的幸福,工作满足感,甚至收入都没什么影响。但是(不管怎样),我还是愿意尽量忽略这些,努力送儿子进入他想进入的大学学习。

Did you hit any particular low points as a parent?
作为一个家长,你有没有陷入过低谷?

When we were filling out the essays. I say we. He waswriting the college-application essays. The essays are supposed to be answersto questions that I thought were unfailingly ludicrous and particularlyill-suited for young 17-year-old boys. They were all touchy-feely: What wasyour most embarrassing moment? What does it feel like when you do x, y or z? Asone counselor said, "You have to tell your son to reach in and bring outhis innermost thoughts." And I said, "He's a 17-year-old boy, lady.He doesn't have any innermost thoughts, and if he did, you wouldn't want toknow what they are and neither would I." So I was hovering over him as hehad a terrible time trying to answer these touchy-feely questions. I rememberat one point I said, "Why do you have this line in here? This line doesn'tmake any sense. You're trying to tell a joke, and the joke isn't funny. Youreally ought to just cut this line all together." And he said, "Dad,that was one of the sentences you wrote."
当我们开始撰写个人陈述时。这里我要用“我们”。他(儿子)当时在写申请陈述。那些陈述应该是要回答一些我认为对一个17岁男孩来说荒谬可笑的问题。那些问题都是很个人很私密的:最让你尴尬的时刻是什么时候?当你在做x,y或者z的时候,你是什么感觉?就想一个咨询师曾经说过的,“你必须让你的孩子找到并且说出他心里最深遂的那些想法。”我说,“他只是个17岁的男孩,女士。他没有什么深遂的想法,就算他有,你和我也都不会想知道那是什么." 我儿子在回答那些很个人很私密的问题上很是吃力,于是我在此过程中一直陪伴其左右.我记得有一次我说,"你写这些干什么啊?这些话在这里根本讲不通啊.你是想讲个笑话,而这个笑话一点都不可笑. 我看你还是赶紧把这些都删掉吧!"然后儿子对我说,"老爸,这是你写的."

谈到"放权(给孩子)",你不是告诉过你儿子在高中最后一年之前不要在暑假做救生员工作吗?

I didn't tell him not to lifeguard that summer. I justsuggested he might want to look for a different kind of employment. [Aprofessional college counselor] had said that there are all these things thatthe kids should do, you know, start a business, go to Guatemala and buildwheelchair ramps in whorehouses. I knew he didn't have the entrepreneurialspirit and I wasn't going to send him to Guatemala, so we were sort of at aloss, and he ended up lifeguarding anyway.
我并没有告诉他不要在暑假做救生员的工作.我只是建议他或许应该找找其他的工作.[一个资深大学申请咨询师]曾经说过,你知道,有太多事情孩子们应该做了,比如自己创业;去危地马拉为妓院搭建(方便残疾人进出的)轮椅斜坡,等等. (但是)我知道他没有那种创业精神,我也并不打算送他去危地马拉,所以我们彼此都有点无言以对,而他最终还是去做了救生员.

What's the worst thing you wereadvised to do?
你被建议去做的最糟的事是什么呢?

A lot of parents told me that if I wanted to learn about thegeneral college experience, I had to go onto the Web and readcollegeconfidential.com, which is this massive website that I describe in thebook. It's a place where anxious parents and their children and professionalcounselors can come together in a common meeting space and spreadmisinformation and gossip and lies about going to college. And there's no wayto tell a good piece of advice from a bad piece of advice. So you can go fromone page to the next, and an hour has passed and you have heard 12 differentpieces of advice, all of which contradict each other.
很多家长告诉我,如果我想要了解一些基本的与大学有关的经验,我必须要去一个叫做collegeconfidential.com的网站.那就是我在我的书里描述的那个超级网站.那个网站给那些焦虑的家长和他们的孩子,还有那些咨询师们提供了一个碰头的地方,并且他们可以经常散布一些关于大学申请,大学生活的不准确的信息,小道消息甚至谎言. 在那里,你没有办法辨别哪些建议是中肯的,而哪些是胡说八道.所以当你耗费了一个小时,一页又一页地在网站里浏览信息时,你最后只得到的只是12条彼此矛盾的建议.

If I were a parent counseling otherparents right now, the No. 1 thing I would say is stay away from CollegeConfidential. In fact, I'd stay away from the Web as much as you can becausethe Web has no particular filter for good information and badinformation.
如果我当下是一个家长咨询师而不是一个家长,我要说的第一件事就是远离那个collegeconfidential网站. 事实上,我会说要能离多远就离多远, 因为那个网站没有一个过滤好建议和烂建议的功能.

Is there anything you wished you had realized earlier?
现在想想,有没有什么事是你希望在当时能够意识到的呢?

I thought it would matter if he went to one school overanother or if he went to college at all rather than go off into business. Butkids at 18 and 19 and 20 years old are going to grow no matter what they do. Ilook back on it now and am very happy for what my son and I went through. Isure as hell wouldn't want to do it again. But I have to, with my daughter.
我以为他(儿子)上哪所大学至关重要;我认为他上大学而不是立刻去工作至关重要.然而事实上,18,19或是20岁的孩子们无论做什么,都会成长.现在回想起来,我很高兴我和儿子能够经历那一切.我确信到骨子里,我再也不想重新来一遍了.但是我必须重新再过一遍,这次是为我女儿.

What will you do differently with your daughter?
这次和你女儿,你的做法会与上次有什么不一样吗?

I think I would be much calmer. I think it has been muchcalmer. Partly due to the fact that I do know how it ends. She will get intocollege. She will turn into a fine young woman wherever she goes. So that kindof takes some of the pressure off.
我想我应该会更平静吧.我想(女儿的大学申请过程)已经变得平静多了. 一部分原因是我对这个过程将会怎样结束已经心中有数了:她肯定会上大学.无论她进入什么大学, 她都会最终成长为一个优秀的年轻女性.这种信念在一定程度上会给我减少些压力.

So there are no lasting scars?
也就是说你对这个过程并不后悔了?

We can look back on it and see thathe's happy and know that it was worth it for that reason. Kids in four-yearcolleges generally have a high level of satisfaction. Why wouldn't they? What'sthere not to like?
我们可以回顾整个过程,并看到他(儿子)现在有多么快乐. 正因为此,我知道那个痛苦的过程是值得的.在四年大学生活中的孩子们会有更高的满足感,不是吗?有什么会让他们不喜欢大学生活呢?
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