I'm A College Student That Doesn't Want Free Tuition

I'm A College Student That Doesn't Want Free Tuition

Nothing worth having comes easy.
499
views

A word with four letters, many interpretations, and something that divides political parties. Free. Such a tiny word, yet it holds such great implications. What is free, then? It is defined many ways, such as: enjoying personal rights or liberty, independent, able to do something at will, to disengage or to clear, or without charge. But when you get down to it... is anything actually free?

Everyone has the right and opportunity to make decisions for themselves and to enjoy their personal rights or liberty. With that being said, it doesn't mean that people get to have a disengaged or clear paths without any charge. One of my favorite quotes, from Thomas Edison, is "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." If everyone is given a clear path without any obstacles, what does that teach? If everything was easy, wouldn't everyone do it? What would set me apart from others in life, on a résumé, in a career, as a woman, wife, future mother, and sister?

Something that has weighed heavily on my mind is the fact that most millennials are hoping, and voting, for free college tuition. What does free college tuition actually do for society as a whole, and not just for the individual? It may make a student debt free, but free tuition as a whole could "cost the United States $70 billion per year," according to Fox News. If you aren't paying for your classes, then who is? Where is that $70 billion coming from? Taxpayers.

If college becomes free, that means more people going to college. Which in theory sounds wonderful! Everyone should have the opportunity to go to school if they so desire. But I have always been told that if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is, and that is definitely the case with free college tuition. If more people go to college, the value of a college degree will decrease. A Huffington Post article in support of free college actually stated that a college education is essentially equivalent to a high school education of previous generations. Well if that is true, then what will the value of a degree be when even more people have it? It is simply the law of supply and demand. If a college degree is at the value of a high school diploma now, when it becomes free that would make it equivalent to, maybe, junior high.

Students would get a free bachelor's degree, but in order to set themselves apart, they would need to continue on with graduate school. Oh wait... students already have to do that! How would free college help the societal issue we are already facing of students graduating only to discover they have to do more school? Free tuition would only make this issue drastically worse.


Free things are usually things that no one wants, am I right? You get free koozies, free cheap sunglasses, free beach balls, free flyers and pamphlets, and you can find free, gross furniture on the sides of the road. These things are all things that people are trying to get rid of, hence why they are free. You don't walk into the mall to get a brand new Sony TV for free. You walk in there with your money in hand, money that you worked hard for, to purchase it. College is the same way. You can't just show up expecting something great without working in order to obtain it.

College is hard. Whether you are an art major, science major, economics major or education major, it doesn't matter. College is hard work. You spend endless nights studying and panicking and writing those term papers because you know those things determine your future. You work hard in college because it is important to you. You work hard because it isn't free. If college were free, students would become nonchalant about their work and their grades. If all those credits were free, students wouldn't worry about working hard for them because they can just get some more, right? I mean, when you break those cheap sunglasses, you don't stress because you can just go get some other ones.

I know people that are in debt because of their desire to go to college. They want the degree at the end because they want a better life for themselves and their families. What happens to that person when college becomes free? What happens to the debt they have already incurred while trying to take care of children, work a full-time job, and be a husband or wife? They worked for that degree, paid money for that degree, and you're telling me someone else can just come in who didn't put nearly as much time, effort, or money into their degree and get the same outcome. In the end, who do you think would be the better employee or boss, someone who worked hard and is proud of what they did, or someone that had it handed to them?

College isn't something that is nonchalant. If someone truly has a desire to go to school, then there are ways to make it happen. There are scholarships, federal financial aid if you qualify, internships, part-time jobs, even part-time and distance-learning degrees. The options are all there. At the same time, college shouldn't be something that is forced on people! If college becomes free, then everyone will feel obligated that they have to go due to the obstacles being removed from their paths. With more and more people going to college, what happens to the technical schools, the blue-collar jobs? If everyone is a doctor or a teacher, who is the plumber, the welder, the farmer, the mechanic? There is already such a negative connotation surrounding blue-collar, hardworking jobs, but in reality, these hardworking, undervalued people are who make the world go 'round! When something happens to my car, or my A/C, or my plumbing, I call someone who knows how to fix it. We don't need to make everyone think they have to have a college education to have a great job, a great payout, and a great life.

Forcing college on people and deeming it free to get more people with degrees not only hurts our society and economy, but it hurts individuals as well. If you believe in free college tuition, that is great! I'm sure you have your reasons, just as I have mine. Student debt has its own weight as well, but if a student picks a degree in a field that offers a great job market, scholarships, and opportunities for employment or graduate schooling then the debt wouldn't be such a hindrance.

I may not always like to work, but I do like overalls, and if together they are going to set me apart as an individual, then work is what I will do.

Cover Image Credit: The New York Times

Popular Right Now

When People Respond to My Major With 'You Better Have a Rich Husband'

The things I've learned working with kids are worth more to me as a person than any college class I've taken. Most days, the kids teach me more than I could ever teach them.

1665
views

This past week I have been working at the local elementary school's art camp as an assistant teacher. I've been helping with the camp for three years, and I've worked at a preschool as well. Now I'm in college at the University of North Alabama as an Elementary Education major. More and more lately, I'm getting a sour face when I tell people that I'm an education major." Be prepared to be poor," they say. "You better get a rich husband."

But I'm here to argue against the preconceived notion that I have picked my career based solely upon the fact that I won't make as much as a doctor or engineer. Is this the mindset that you want the people who are teaching your children to have? If so, good luck to you and your family. I've been incredibly blessed by my short time spent with kids so far. Working with children has greatly improved my life and I'll tell you why.

Working with kids is not easy by any definition; I think that's something we can all agree with. But isn't that what makes it so wonderful? I've always heard that being a teacher takes a special kind of person, but I wholeheartedly believe that working with kids makes you into a special person. The things I've learned working with kids are worth more to me as a person than any college class I've taken. Most days, the kids teach me more than I could ever teach them.

I know you could see this one coming: kids are patience builders.

Coming from a perfectionist who began teaching with a low tolerance for anything that went wrong, I've learned a lot about patience. Children are just learning, just beginning their lives. They haven't had enough experience to shape their conscious or moral standards. In their eyes, they have two models to form their foundation upon: their parents, and those around them. So how can we expect anything less than occasionally acting out or making mistakes? Maybe we're the ones they're modeling their silly behavior after at times. Kids may get into more trouble than we prefer, but we love them all the same.

Kids are, sometimes brutally, unquestionably honest.

If your hair is frizzy and sticking up everywhere, then they'll let you know that you look like a porcupine. Or why, they'll ask with a giggle, are those red bumps all over your face? I'm so thankful that I don't even have to keep myself humble; the kids do it for me… and I don't even have to ask! They will never hesitate to point out your flaws or mistakes, even if it's something that you're trying to conceal; you can never underestimate a child's observation skills. They continue to impress me every day.

They stay optimistic.

It doesn't matter if they've never painted before; they're going to paint a picture of a Tyrannosaurus Rex for their dad and he's going to love it. Being an optimistic person myself, it gives me high hopes to be around children who love life and look for the good in people. I think their optimism is quite contagious. If only I could catch onto being so excited about something that early in the morning.

Also, with children comes continuous laughter and fun.

Working with them brings out the 5-year-old in me (not that I don't act like I'm five years old all the time). Whether it's bringing inanimate objects to life or imaginary friends, kids know how to have fun no matter the circumstance. You have to be creative with them, constantly making up games and characters to keep up with their imagination. You kids keep me young... or age me twice as fast. You decide.

Their innocence is refreshing.

They haven't experienced the world yet to spoil their minds, and I continuously wish that I could be so innocent minded. In the words of Patrick Rothfuss, “When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind." You took the words right out of my mouth, Rothfuss. It's nice to be around little ones so untainted.

They're always there to lift you up.

There is truly no better feeling than a child making something for you, because they used their time and their resources that they could've spent doing anything else. When I have my own classroom, I'll be eager to display all of the gifts my kids have graciously given me. They love seeing their work hanging up because they know we treasure it. But the tangible gifts are only a small portion of what truly matters, which is the sentiment that I so often receive from kids. If I'm down and out, they can tell. If they run up and give me a hug or a smile so big, it never fails to brighten my day.

Lastly and most importantly, kids are authentic.

They're completely themselves, because the cruel world hasn't given them a reason not to be. They're unashamedly bold and that's something that we should all strive for. Kids are friends with whoever they want, and they don't distinguish each other by race or beliefs, but simply see each other for who they are. It's OK to be different. As the older generation, it's our job to set an example for our kids to be themselves and to love life.

Now you understand how interacting with students has shaped me as a person, and I'm sure those who have been around kids would agree. My passion for teaching has given me so much more than I ever thought it would, and I've barely gotten started. I can't wait to see how much I've grown as a person at the end of my journey.

So next time you cringe at the life decisions one has made because of financial reasons, consider that they have a huge heart for teaching and all that it entails. Maybe they're in it for more than simply the money. Never discredit an individual's passions because of your worldly attitude.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Roommates, Love Them, Hate Them, You Still Have To Live With Them

We've all had our share of roommates, think about your wellbeing before committing to a new living situation.

35
views

Some of us are fortunate enough to have a single, or maybe even live in suites if your college or residence area permits it. For me, I lived with a roommate during my freshman and sophomore years. Over the past two years I was fortunate enough to have roommates that I either enjoyed, or we "cohabited successfully".

Through this experience I learned the incredibly valuable experience that choosing just anyone to room with can cause difficulty in the long run. Choosing to live with your best friends can even become difficult. I think it is best to place a realistic lens on these decisions that may effect you for at least a year.

In dorms, it is much easier to switch, especially second semester. However, when you reach the point of moving off campus finding alternate housing is much more nuanced. Leases lock you into a contract, where you must pay your share of the rent. If you become delinquent on this it either falls on your roommates or cosigners, which I can tell you is definitely not fine. Thoughts and prayers for anyone left in that situation.

Subletting is the only option for relieving this issue, and let me tell you finding someone to fill a spot is definitely not always easy. I understand circumstance may change, and life completely changes our course at times. But truly think about who you are living with. I am definitely guilty of glorification.

In the end, you are most important and your education is part of you. Think about what you need in a roommate, and if things end up going badly, what effect will that have on your life and wellbeing. Personally, I have a lot of trouble sleeping. Honestly to the point where I probably seem like a snob, but I just need complete silence and darkness to sleep. Even then, there are times when I can't sleep.

Over the course of one semester, I probably slept for about 3 hours every night. Definitely not enough sleep for someone with a light schedule to function with, let alone a college student with an intense schedule and expectations. It was a time of maximum stress in my life, due to an extreme course load, and a lack of sleep definitely did not help. It is something that I feel awful to complain to roommates about, and to have effect them in any way.

In thinking of solutions, I realized that I either needed my own room or a z-room. Realizing these solutions and necessities in what we need in a living space is absolutely key. There are hard-no's and specific things we want in an apartment or roommate. Listen to those and if it means living with certain friends over others, take that into account. Don't doubt your wants and needs, or settle because you don't want to hurt someone's feelings. In the end if you're honest, your friends are more likely to respect you and care about your needs.

Think of your choice in living as if it were a new relationship, we have certain standards and things we expect and enjoy in significant others. An apartment and roommates are a similar situation in life. I wouldn't settle for qualities that seriously effected me or that I deeply disliked, so why would I ever settle for a similar living situation? Would you?

Cover Image Credit:

c1.staticflickr.com

Related Content

Facebook Comments