Going To College Shouldn't Be About How Much Money You Have

Going To College Shouldn't Be About How Much Money You Have

Sometimes it seems like the sky is only the limit if you can afford to pay the entrance fee to the clouds.
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If you're in college, chances are that you apply for some form of financial aid each year. Maybe it comes in the form of a federal grant or loan, or maybe it comes in the form of an academic scholarship. Maybe you receive some help from your family. Maybe you work to pay for your education. Even with all of the various options and strategies, many college students struggle with the precarious weight of the financial burden. There's a constant battle between the desire to pursue your dreams and the obligation to produce significant amounts of money in order to do so. Your dreams are not free; there is always a price to pay. Do you ever wonder how many dreams are squandered because people can't afford to go to college? The answer: too many.

Throughout their school years, children are often told by parents and teachers that they can be anyone or do anything they want if they have enough dedication. Children grow up with the illusion that, although there are obstacles in life, those obstacles do not have the power to stop them. While I wish that were true, it is not; money is often the deciding factor in many of life's decisions, and unfortunately, that includes school. So when it comes time to apply to colleges, there is a revelation that sometimes dedication is not enough to get what you want.

But imagine if dedication were enough to get you what you want. What if all you needed to achieve your dreams was the will to do so? What if everyone who wanted to go to college was able to? If higher education were funded by the government, like public primary and secondary schools are, then this fantasy could become a reality. I know it wouldn't be a simple undertaking. Inevitably, there would be much controversy and debate concerning the methods that would be used to garner this funding. Someone might propose an increase in taxes. The idea of a tax increase would make many people uneasy, but I think it would be worth it if it were done fairly and correctly. Think of it as an investment in society; if more people were able to continue their education, there would be more people who would be able to fulfill their potential and create positive change. Readily-available and easily-accessible education would bring power and influence to more of the people and provide them with more opportunities to make their voices heard.

It is also worth mentioning the personal benefits that would arise from the government funding of higher education. There would be less financial burdens for students to carry, and as a result, there would be less stress. Students would be able to devote more time and focus on their studies, enabling them to do better academically. Maybe some students would have more opportunities to invest in priceless life experiences, such as travel, that would provide further education to supplement what they learn in school. Academic growth would be a more attainable goal, and finding a job with a substantial salary would be much easier.

As an aspiring educator, it seems obvious to me that students should not be obligated to bear financial burdens in order to get an education. There's just so much potential that is not being realized because of the hardships that come with the college process. If I ever have children, I do not want to have to tell them, "You can't go to college because we don't have enough money." There are people who have to do this, who have to say this to their children. And while it is possible to get through college with academic scholarships, many families still struggle despite this. I don't want to continue seeing students on the verge of giving up because of money. Everyone deserves a truly equal opportunity to pursue education.

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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An Open Letter To Myself At 15

This is an open letter to myself about things I wish I had known at 15.

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Dear Hailey,

You are so loved. I know times might be hard, but it will all be okay. It's okay to ride the fence and be unsure of what you want to do with your life. You're going to change your mind 10 more times before graduation anyways. Also, don't worry about all of the things that you can't change. You can't make someone fall in love with you or make her treat you like a better friend. It's okay for people not to fit in your life. Stop bending over backward for people and live for yourself. In a few years, you will go through so much, but you come out on the better side. You are going to be successful and driven. Also, learn what the meaning of "self-care" is. You need to do a lot of that in the upcoming years. Mental health is more important than anything. Also, quit cutting your baby hairs. They will never get longer so you need to embrace and love them early on. Figure out what you can change, and what you cannot. Most importantly, accept what you cannot change. When you decide that you are ready to face the things that you can change, do it with your whole heart. That doesn't mean complete perfection. It's important to know the difference. Start by making a plan for the future. Write it down, memorize it, do whatever makes it the easiest for you. Think through your plan logically, take into consideration your strengths and weaknesses. Remember to do the hard things first once in a while, the relief is sweet in the end.

You are ready.

You are young.

You are smart.

You are beautiful.

If you ever feel that you are at your lowest point, just remember the only place that you can go is up. Find reassurance in the weakness. The best is yet to come. Don't take pity on yourself. Instead, work harder to make your situation better. Be happy. There are so many things to be thankful for. Ask when you need help. No one can read your mind. Time won't stop for you. Worrying and stressing is simply a waste of time. Be strong and know that you are in God's hands. Everything will work out. It may not be today or tomorrow, but eventually, the pieces will fall into place and you will understand why things had to happen that way.

Love,

Me

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