If I were a college president I would make it a requirement that incoming freshman study abroad before enrolling, but it wouldn’t be just any study abroad program.
You would be helicoptered to a random place in the world, blindfolded, with no money, no cell phone, no idea where you are, and have to find your way home. Let’s say you can’t be left in extreme circumstances, like the top of Mount Everest or in the middle of a desert, unless that’s really your thing. More like a rural village in Botswana, or a street corner in Norway. North Korea is probably off-limits, but not out of the question.
This is the sticking point every time I interview for a college president job. Search committees just don’t seem interested in my idea. They think enrollment will plummet, but I think the idea is just fantastic*.
Because after the freshman completes her journey home, grades, broken Apple Watches, drama with her friends, boys, and just about anything that happens to her becomes a lot easier to deal with.
It becomes exactly what it is: No big deal.
[*Without fail someone out there is taking this post seriously, furious and ready to get my boss on the phone. I am joking.]