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Sam Davidson's blog

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The Perfect University

Finally, the perfect university has been found. So, if you're a prospective college student reading this, stop your search. I'm about to save you a lot of time. And, if you're a current student who is a bit dissatisfied with your school, get your transfer papers in order. It's time to head to Monsters University.

How do I know about this place? Instead of building a typical movie website, Pixar set up MonstersUniversity.com to showcase the setting for its new film, a prequel to Monsters, Inc. Take a look at the site. It's as robust and informative as many a real college's. You'll find info on Greek life, announcements about campus construction, and financial aid news.

Of course, there's a commercial worth watching, too.

The reason this college looks so perfect is because it doesn't exist. We humans have an uncanny ability to idealize that which doesn't exist, to paint the grass as greener somewhere else, and to hope our lives away, telling ourselves that someone else has it way better somewhere else. We're all very bad at appreciating the present time, place, and situation in which we find ourselves.

I've seen this in the church world, the work world, and sometimes I hear it in the college world. Something goes wrong and the second it does, a student is longing to go to another university, assuming things aren't as bad/crazy/weird/hard/dramatic/lonely/stressful/meaningless/boring. And so they start dreaming of leaving, missing out on all that can be had by staying put.

Certainly, transferring is the right decision for many students, but bolting at the first sign of unease or dissatisfaction may not be a wise choice. After all, until you're in the thick of something - like a college degree - you may not fully understand a place and a community and all of the ups and downs that go along with it.

Besides, if you think you've uncovered the perfect university, don't enroll. You might ruin it.