An Account Of The Real Cost Of Secondary Education

An Account Of The Real Cost Of Secondary Education

That’ll be 3,865 hours, please.

With the recent outbreak of frivolous talk concerning free tuition and minimum wage increases, I want to talk about the other options from the viewpoint of someone smack dab in the middle of the madness.

Based off of my own university’s average tuition, room and board and total cost of activity fees, as well as the minimum wage of my home state, 3,865 is the number of hours one would have to work, while earning minimum wage, in order to cover the cost of one year of attendance at my university.

Of course, this neglects to take into account the fact that few, if any, students, traditional and nontraditional alike, pass through the admissions office doors without receiving some form of grant or scholarship. This number also represents pre-tax figures, but, for the sake of simplicity, we’ll pretend that is not a problem that needs to be addressed at this moment.

If your mind works at all like mine, you’re probably already trying to do the math paired with the implications of a number like that. Well, you can put down your calculator, because I have already taken the liberty of factoring the figures. In order to reach that number of hours in one year, an individual would be looking at working 322 12-hour days per year. That is six days a week, all year long (with the exception of 10 weeks), when the individual would be working all seven days.

As I mentioned before, this is all assuming that a student would be paying the full tuition price, which is a rarity for a private university such as the one these figures are based on. However, it's not uncommon for financial assistance to be limited when it comes to students pursuing degrees at public universities. The total cost of education for state-funded schools can be expected to be roughly half that of a private university. Returning to my figures, then, in order to work enough hours to cover the cost of education, one would be facing six-hour days again, six days a weeks, with the exception of those 10 full weeks. That is the equivalent of 36 42-hour work weeks, with the entire gross pay every week going to the student’s education.

At this point, to expect for any student to follow this kind of work schedule in order to cover only their schooling expense is unheard of.

However, I don’t want any person misinterpreting the message of my argument. The fact of the matter is, minimum wage is merely a government-regulated number set to protect the menial labor workforce. When did the American Dream become "do the least we can in order to receive the minimum wages that Uncle Sam says we are entitled to?" Any student, such as myself, working through school for the purpose of graduating debt-free, should strive to be employable at rates higher than the set minimum wage. One aspect of fiscal responsibility is the ability to showcase one’s own skills in order to stand out above the menial labor force.

The idea of 3,865 hours does not stand in the way of my goals. For all those who have ever said that it is “impossible” to graduate without student loans, I am here to prove you wrong.

Cover Image Credit: Amanda Halsey

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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News Flash: 'Building The Wall' Is Still A Dumb Idea And Always Will Be

The government is still partially shutdown because of funding for the wall. Really?


A man who is a strong supporter of building the wall told me this metaphor: If you don't want the wrong people walking into your backyard, you put a fence up. We don't want the wrong people coming to America, so we put a wall up. I respect people's political beliefs, and because of this, I want to share mine.

I believe that President Trump demanding money to build a border wall is dumb.

It's hard to believe so many people really think that this "build a wall" has everything to do about border security. It's just inhumane and wrong.

Literally, the most notorious drug lord of Mexico has shed light about how he smuggles the drug into the U.S. They have brought it through fishing boats, trucks going through the legal point of entry, underground tunnel, but not through unwalled parts. The half of million pounds of narcotics that were secured at the border? They were all al legal points of entry.

I'm saying this because I am a proud daughter of immigrants who crossed the border. The media has portrayed immigrants as these horrible people infiltrating our country. They just want somewhere safe to live to raise their kid.

The conditions of Latin American countries are inexplicable. Communist have risen from the ashes dominating these countries letting people rot on the street starving. There are little to no job opportunities. I haven't seen my family in three years because it is dangerous to go.

The media doesn't tell you this. They don't tell you how many people have gone to the border and returned to Mexico because ICE agents tear gas them.

They tell you that they throw babies over fences to distract border patrol agents. They tell you children are dying because of malnutrition of trekking thousands of miles to get the border. They don't tell you that those same children have been eating unmonitored food with thousands of microorganism some mal some good.

Not all immigrants are not bad people. The notions that all immigrants are criminals is "fake news." It has been a hook, line, and sinker for the Republican Party. There are studies such as one from the journal Criminology showing that places with high undocumented immigrant population does not equal high crime.

Should undocumented citizens attempt to become legal residents of the United States? Absolutely, and that is a problem if they are evading taxes and other legal notions with more consequences.

However, we should not lie to ourselves and act as a wall is to help border security against drugs and crime. It's just a physical quota like 1920s immigration laws. There is a better solution then sacrificing 5.7 billion dollars. Let me translate that: 5,700,000,000 dollars. That is our taxes. As a college student, I rather have those 5.7 billion dollars be translated to scholarship, grants, financial aid, and helping us, the future of this country become the best people we can be. Why build a wall when the future of America, who I personally think is more important can be helped.

I don't come from a rich family, and I don't have the means to afford a college education without loans, so when I hear that the Government can afford to give 5.7 billion dollars for a wall, I have the right to be upset. Tell me I'm wrong, and call me dumb, but this is my unpopular opinion.


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