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Pajama Boy College

We live in a world where college is considered necessary for a full life. Good jobs, social status, and more, all seem to be dependent on it. However, when I think of the college establishment, I don’t think of education; I think of the “Pajama Boy” ad: a photo of a young man wearing pajamas that was meant to get college students excited about Obamacare back in 2013. This, and the infamous “Life of Julia” video, proposed a new image of coming-of-age: the idea that—with the assistance of the government—people could live out their young adulthood as a second childhood. The public rebelled against these advertisements. The two were met with strong backlash when released and continue to be targeted for derision.

People scorn “Pajama Boy” because there’s something grotesque about the fact that new adults are doing nothing with their fresh talent and youthful energy—they’re burning the most valuable years of their lives in prolonged immaturity and adolescence.

I propose that the culprit is the modern university model, and until we stop making college responsible for our success in life and instead take our young adult lives into our own hands, we can only expect to see more and more young people living fruitless, meaningless lives.

The university model is distinct for its thick, bureaucratic nature. Knowledge is represented on paper by “credit hours” and “grades” inherently meaningless: subjective numbers that supposedly quantify knowledge. Yet, this system allows colleges to turn learning into an expensive commodity that is purchased in units, like items at a supermarket.

The already lengthy process of getting a bachelor’s degree is often drawn out by the fact that many colleges actively encourage students not to decide on a major in their first year, but instead to experiment with as many different expensive college courses as possible.

Colleges also offer and endorse many pointless therapeutic degree paths in things like “gender studies” that offer no return on the student’s massive investment and often force them to return in pursuit of a more practical option or go to graduate school at twice the price.

It makes perfect sense, though, that a college wouldn’t be interested in encouraging planning and hard work—after all, the longer students remain at college, the more money they leave behind.

Meanwhile the students—who usually have no real goal to inspire diligent study—settle into a second childhood and slowly finish their degrees, often falling into all kinds of sinful concupiscence along the way.

A study from 2014 found that about 50% of women in college end up with unplanned pregnancies which often force them to drag out their college education even longer. 37% of college students admit to or are caught regularly using illegal drugs or habitually abusing alcohol.

A friend of mine stated that living in a college dorm was like dipping his soul in oil. “I think it’s impossible,” he said, “to not come out of it as a worse person.”

This seems to fit with statistics that show that 70% of young adults who enter college as professing Christians leave with little to no faith. Far from providing young adults with the wisdom and knowledge they need to do God’s will, colleges seem to encourage immaturity, immorality, and ignorance.

I would argue that as people who believe education isn’t just a list of boxes to be checked, and that a virtuous life is the most valuable thing anyone can have, we need to fight against the modern college system.

We can look into history and see that young adults don’t need to be pajama-clad pagans living immature lifestyles while going to school on government money. We can look back only a few generations and see the age group we now refer to as “college kids” providing for families of their own, fighting wars, running businesses, and taking responsibility for their own lives. There’s no question that young adults are more than capable of being adults, so why aren’t they?

I’ve heard the argument that “just because young adults can be responsible, doesn’t mean they should be rushed into that role.” I would respond to that with the question: Is an 18-year-old an adult or a child? If 18-year-olds aren’t meant to take on the role of adults, then why are they called adults? Why are they registered for the draft? Why are they allowed to vote?

We know well that education is not something to be bought. Nobody needs college to become educated in a world where books, online courses, and lectures on every subject are readily available to the curious mind. If we do feel the need to buy the degree that college offers, we should pursue it with purpose and priority and not allow ourselves to be tempted by an easy life.

If traditional college were a prerequisite for greatness, then we would not remember Jane Austen, Benjamin Franklin, Abigail Adams, Michael Faraday, and many more men and women from all walks of life who took responsibility for their own lives and educations: the exact thing that the college establishment—due to its corruption and greed—encourages students not to do.

It’s time for this generation of pajama boys to follow in the footsteps of these great people, and like St. Paul, to “put aside childish things.”

Works Cited

“College Student Pregnancy Research Source | Hao Guo.” UO Blogs, 20 April 2014, Accessed 16 April 2024.

Hanson, Melanie. “Student Loan Debt Statistics [2024]: Average + Total Debt.” Education Data Initiative, 3 March 2024, Accessed 16 April 2024.

“Nick Petrusha column: College students losing their faith.” The Independent Record, 29 January 2022, Accessed 16 April 2024.



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