Smelling coffee brewing in a dorm room, streaked sneaker markings engraved in the pavement, drool slipping off the page turners lip after studying for finals, and the rigorous sound of crisp fingertips dancing against a keyboard with five minutes left to spare on an essay submission. Sound familiar? All these aspects of life are mastered into this dynamic creation of education which we as students have been forced to convert into.
Isn’t it funny how we are the outrageous and immature high schoolers and within a summer vacation of three months we are transformed into these young adults who are now responsible to take on the rest of their lives? The funny thing is we are not.
In school, we are taught to begin studying for more school. The SAT and ACT take priority to being taught how to pay taxes or applying for a job or even changing a flat tire. The educational system dictates that the Pythagorean theorem takes priority over understanding how to budget an income, and we as students just go along with the trend, trying to make the grades and get into a college where the exact same cycle continues.
It is actually funny that this society dictates our corruption the day you enter kindergarten by always prying into students minds that the only way to be successful is through a college education and we believe it. People will go into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt to receive a rolled-up paper stating they made it, but what did they actually make it to?
It makes sense that when you let people taste freedom for the first time, they abuse it, and college is such a prime example of the generational movement. Young adults without a curfew? Free drugs and booze? Parties every night? It is a teen dream and parents would love to believe that their angel children are attending all their classes, sleeping on time, studying every day, and making sure they eat their veggies. That is not always the case.
Students are so wrapped up in getting “the college experience” that they forget why they are attending college in the first place.
People take this “college experience” as an excuse to act like crazy teenagers rather than earn a true education. The idea of attending a trade school or community college is seen as absurd because it is not viewed as “real schooling” when in actuality it statistically has proven to generate more alumni who attend college purely for educational purposes.
People who attend community college typically do so for location or financial reasons. These people are the ones already planning for their future and acting accordingly so that they can be successful without taking on massive debt while balancing out a career and education. The full intention of attending these classes is to receive the education and to truly earn a college diploma, not to live by the saying “C’s get degrees”.
During a college orientation, an advisor told us to look to our left and then look to our right, she followed that statement by stating one of you three will end up being a college dropout by statistics. I thought to myself there is no way that can be true and there is no way I will be a part of that statistic, I learned soon that the advisor was not wrong.
Following my first semester of college, the sound of leaving it all behind and starting off on a clean plate sounded so intriguing. I was ready to forget college and find my way on my own. It wasn’t because of the workload or grades, it was because something just didn’t feel right. In that moment I didn’t feel like the education I was receiving was worth the amount of debt I would be taking on the following semester. I didn’t doubt myself, but I did doubt the system I was being pulled into.
I am sure there are millions of students who felt they were exactly where they were meant to be and there is nothing wrong with that, but sometimes you need to look around and ask yourself is the cause worth the effect.
College has become a popularity contest more than a commonality for students trying to earn their degrees. I can honestly say I never truly understood the meaning behind being a “broke college student” until I defined myself as one and while it implied the money factor it was more than just my financial state. It was being mentally drained while trying to maintain this impersonation of myself that I was doing what was best for me while holding myself back and the moment I decided I needed to escape the toxic life I had surrounded myself with was the moment I felt like I could breathe again.