Les Misérables: The College Parody

Les Misérables: The College Parody December 27, 2012

Via Inside Higher Ed, I discovered this parody of Les Misérables which depicts instead the despair not of young revolutionaries in France in a bygone era, but young graduates in the present day:

I think the video simultaneously makes a useful point, and undermines it, illustrating in the process what education is really for.

On the one hand, many students go to university anticipating that it will all but guarantee them a certain type of job or standard of living. It doesn’t. And it never has.

But it does offer a kind of experience and exposure to the breadth and richness of human creativity, that it fairly consistently enables students both to find creative ways to adapt to the challenges of real life, and to find enjoyment, appreciation, meaning, and comfort in that life.

The video is a case in point. The group of students at Boston University who made it found a way of expressing themselves, of creating a work of art that is communicating their disappointment and concern to a wider audience.

I wonder in what ways their education enabled them to appreciate Les Misérables, to connect it to their own experience, and to find a creative way of reenacting it. And I think that this illustrates one of the many ways that education fosters creativity on the one hand, and provides skills for coping with the challenges life throws at us on the other. Turning our story into song, drama, and/or video is one of the ways we do that.

Of course, there is also grad school, and so I leave you with these cartoons which are among several Les Misérables parodies created by PHD Comics:

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