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Would not recommend. Emphasis on the “Tries.”
Pairs nicely with Icehouse Beer. Because it tastes like empty disappointment, and it’s all you can afford now that a college has stolen your money.
Let me start with this: I absolutely hate college as an institution in this country. This post will not be backed by studies and all the things it should be, because it’s an editorial. That means these are my opinions, and NOT FACTS. However, they are my personal facts. And here are the reasons I hate college.
College is expensive for no reason. I really mean this. I have (as of writing this) paid over $500 just to enroll in the college I chose, and I haven’t even registered for any classes. On top of what I’ve paid, there will be $6,000/semester tuition (for a full time student), fees for all the of labs, the gym fee for a gym I probably won’t use, as well as books.
If I get a loan, then it will be expensive, with high interest rates and very little assurance that I will be able to pay it off before I’m 40. If I stop and don’t go to college, I have a hard time getting jobs because I don’t have a stupid piece of paper that says I have jumped through hoops. And so how can I get a job jumping through hoops if I haven’t proved that I can jump through hoops?
Books are stupid. Okay, that’s really not true. I love most books. But I hate with a fiery passion what college does to textbooks. Textbooks should be pure and clean. Textbooks should be worth what you are charged for them. Instead, college professors can write books, charge %2000 of the printing costs and require them for classes they teach. In one case, the local community college actually took a sociology book, slapped a different cover on it and hiked the price by 130%. Everything from the questions to the stupid little pictures was the same.
Whenever a “new edition” of a book comes out, it goes up to the $200-$300 price, and the older editions drop dramatically. This makes it hard to resell your books at the end of the semester. The editions aren’t even that different. Really. (I was recently corrected by a few biology and medical folks that these areas have different editions for really good reasons. I stand corrected FOR THESE AREAS ONLY.)
College makes you jump through stupid hoops. When I applied, I had to fill out every form just right. I had to send in transcripts a specific way. When I was accepted, I had to “accept enrollment” with my “enrollment deposit (of $400)” in hand. After I was accepted, I had to make room in my busy schedule for an 8-hour orientation. I’ve been to college. I have a degree. I’m not living on your campus. Just let me sign up for classes.
In order to skip orientation, I tried many things. I was going to be out of town for most of the orientation dates. As a commuting student, I needed to enroll for classes ASAP to have my classes in the right schedule, and my commute might not make me suicidal. So I tried early orientation dates, but they were closed because I didn’t have my $400 paid soon enough. I tried to skip it by having my advisor enroll me, but then they couldn’t lift the blocks on my account because “it’s a college requirement.”
One day, I went to two different offices, and finally found someone who told me who to call and what to do. I tried to follow those steps to the letter. And eventually, after hitting more brick walls, I said “Fuck it.” I marched down to my advisor, who told me to go to the Orientation Office. I was sick and it was the middle of the fucking winter. I walked across campus to this Orientation Office, and they told me to go to my advisor. I did what any sane person who was sick, had been run in circles and needed to solve a problem would do; I broke down into tears. They enrolled me for the first Orientation date on the spot.
In order to qualify as independent according to federal aid, you have to be 24. Full stop. No asterisk. No exceptions. If you’re 23, you need help from your parents. If you 24, you magically evolve into a broke person who suddenly needs help. Quick reminder: you’re considered an adult at 18 here in America. But apparently, those 6 years between are when you either don’t go to college or have mom and dad pay for it because…logic?
College doesn’t prepare you for as much as they say it does. There are obvious exceptions to this, like medical school. But let’s be honest; if you have a degree in Psychology, you’d better have a back-up plan like HR. If you have a degree in the arts, I hope you like teaching. And if you get a degree in theatre, you know about half of what you’ll need to in order to be successful in the field. I should know, I was a Stage Manager for 5 years. I made a living working my ass off in Theatre.
I came up through the unpaid ladder of community theatre. The graduated college students I would get out of theatre programs made me sigh. They didn’t know how to read blueprints. They hardly knew what a theatre ran on. Because college is a vacuum environment, and most theatres are not. They run on precise budgets and they are never run “the way they should be.” I would suspect this is true of many degrees. I could match their skills and surpass them without a college degree every time. Hmmm. That’s interesting, ain’t it?
College is like a set of bad parents. There are a few reasons I say this. Number one is the whole back and forth I had to go to. “Go see your advisor.” “Go see Orientation.” “Go see your advisor?” It reminded me strongly of what my parents used to say: “Go ask your Mom.” “Go ask your Dad.” The only difference is that I could give myself permission to play outside eventually. As an adult, I can’t break into the computer system and lift blocks on my registration. For whatever reason.
The other primary reason that college reminds me of bad parenting is the reason most people give for going back to college: connections. It’s that old thing that my mom used to say to me every day. “Go make some new friends.” “Go find some new people to hang out with.” I personally don’t need an entire institution to encourage me to make friends. Do you? Then you’re probably fucking 12. (Introverts, I understand how hard it is for you to make friends. But seriously, 12,000/year for a friend-making service? No. Just…no.)
In short, I would not recommend anyone try to go to college. You can make money outside of college in a lot of fields as long as you’re willing to start early and have an open mind. Do a lot of these fields suck? Yes. Are you still subject to personal stories (ie, racial difference, white privilege, etc.)? Yes. If you can afford college, and you know you want to go, do it. I hear it’s valuable. I just haven’t figured out why yet.
Please don’t let this jaded bitch kill your dreams. After all, I AM going back to college, right? Maybe there’s a reason. #hypocrite?
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