All the misunderstanding of the value of university life seems to me to come from two extreme heresies. On the one hand are those who expect a University to be a kind of insurance company into which so much money is paid and from which so much, eventually, is extracted. They expect a B.A. degree to be a badge which will gain them instant preference over poorer competitors, and in nine cases out of ten they are disappointed.See also: 100 Reasons NOT to Go to Graduate School
On the other hand, there are those who expect Oxford to be like an Oxford novel. A place of easy living, subtle conversations, and illuminating friendships. They expect it to be a kind of microcosm of eighteenth-century Whig society, combined with infinitely sophisticated modernism. They, too, are disappointed.
29 April 2016
Evelyn Waugh, "Was Oxford Worth While?" Daily Mail (21 June 1930), reprinted in A Little Order, ed. Donat Gallagher (London: Eyre Methuen, 1977), p. 16: