Monday, August 16, 2010
“Giving college the third degree”.
With the economic recovery losing steam and states across the country experiencing budget cuts, public four-year universities everywhere are feeling the pinch. The once “affordable” alternative to anyone seeking higher education has become a bureaucracy of red tape; riddled with tuition hikes of almost 7%, fee increases and overpopulation. Recent high school grads looking to obtain a college degree are faced with more obstacles than ever before, which begs the question…is getting a college degree still worth it?
The fact of the matter is, that there are fewer jobs available and too many overqualified candidates. Government surveys indicate that the vast majority of job gains this year have gone to workers with only a high school education or less, casting some doubt on one of the nation's most deeply held convictions: that a college education is the ticket to the American Dream.
With technology advancing by the minute, education of the non-brick and mortar variety is becoming more of the norm. You can learn different languages in a matter of months with the right software and a computer. Do it yourself online courses and “How to do Anything for Dummies” are a high speed internet connection away. So what makes getting into thousands of dollars in student loan debt or working a full time job while going to college worth it?
I worked my way all throughout college and have many friends who did the same. Working 30+ hours per week while taking on a full academic load during my last 2 years. My parents had plenty of moral support to give, but not a whole lot of financial support. I paid out of pocket what I could and applied for aid for the rest. Going to college and working toward obtaining a degree should not only be about dollars and cents, think about all of the other things in life we buy or finance; cars, boats, houses, etc…shouldn’t an education be top on that list?
No one made me go to college, I did it, not only for the education and the knowledge, I did it because if I hadn’t, I knew it would be something I would always look back on with regret. The long days that turned into even longer nights. Getting home at 11pm after working all day and attending classes all night, when dinner was simply brushing your teeth and going straight to bed, only to wake up the very next morning to do it all over again. A college education allows you to discover interests you never knew you had. It instills confidence, builds character and demonstrates resolve. Foundations that will be built upon for the rest of your life, a foundation that can never be taken away from you.