Why College Leaves Middle Class Children Deep In Debt

Why Does My Middle-Class Background Plus College Equal A Life Of Debt?

Why must I put myself in enormous debt just to attend college?

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College is outrageously expensive, that much is known. I remember being a junior in high school, searching for higher education and my eyes widening at the estimated costs.

What I didn't know was that the average cost of tuition that Google displayed did not account for room and board, a meal plan, transportation fees, and many more expenses that I was expected to cover. Everything added up to large sums which calculated to even greater totals for my four years of attendance. It was extremely overwhelming and I scurried to apply for as many scholarships as I could.

The dreaded time to fill out the FASFA came.

I was puzzled because they asked about my parent's financial information and barely anything about my own. How did that make sense? I was the one who was paying for my college education. I had no college fund that my parents had started when I was a baby. I was raised in a middle-class family all of my life, my mother and father had no extra money to put aside for any of my siblings' higher education payments, my situation was no different. I always had food in front of me and clothes on my back (even if they were my older sister's hand-me-downs), why should that determine how much money I received to pay for college?

I think it's obvious to say that I picked the University of Rhode Island.

The only financial aid given to me were two federal loans. Loans.

Money that I had to pay back that had interest. I had worked my butt off in high school to obtain a 4.26 GPA, I was apart of the National and Rhode Island Honor Society, I was in the school chorus, I was even taking AP courses and extra credit courses to boost my academic standards and I received two scholarships which I am grateful for, but I can't help but feel disappointed that I only had won two and they were the amount of money that they were. I had to take out a private loan which is infamously known to have large interest rates. I am paying back the private loan every month and it is kicking me right in the behind. I have to work while trying to study for my biology exams and doing my writing class assignments so I can pay a loan. Looking at my bill for only one semester made my stomach churn, knowing I would spend thousands of dollars just to graduate.

I didn't account how much books were going to cost, either.

Even with sites like Chegg and Amazon, URI professors excel in assigning books that are exclusive only to the URI bookstore. I had to ask my sister to borrow a couple hundred greens just to buy my materials for this semester. Also, if you join a sorority or fraternity, there are member dues that you must pay for! While joining a sorority or frat is a choice, lifelong friends are typically made in Greek Life and you wouldn't want to miss out on the sisterhood or the brotherhood. FOMO is real.

Let us not forget the price of printing out paper and doing your laundry.

Buying a printer is an easy alternative to paying 25 to 35 cents just to print a single piece of paper, but laundry is a total scam. It costs $1.25 to wash and $1.50 to dry and while that doesn't seem like a lot, it adds up pretty quick because the dryers suck (you have to put your clothes through twice) and the machines always eat my quarters if I don't use my card. Do you guys want me to walk around in dirty laundry clothing?

I seriously debated becoming a stripper or a sugar baby to pay off my student loans.

I love URI and don't regret attending, but I know that I am going to have to work multiple jobs in the future to pay off loans and provide for my regular bills as well. I know there are students who need more help than I do, but why do I get almost nothing? I can't just take a whole semester's tuition out of one of my parent's paychecks! It is getting extremely difficult for any student to pay for college with the ever-rising cost of attendance. However, in today's society, to be hired for a job, you must have a college degree with a couple years of experience.

Why does the middle-class have to suffer in tremendous debt for most likely the rest of their life just to be able to be considered for a job?

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Coming Home From College For The Summer Is Much Needed

Wait, how do you drive a car again?

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Since finals week began, I believe I can say for all college students that we were ready to come back to our hometowns for the summer. We had grown tired of eating at the dining hall, spending countless hours in the library, and pulling laundry from the dryers for it to still be damp. Being home for the summer rids you of those worries and only provides a sense of comfort and security with a furnished home and bedroom to yourself. We sometimes forget how things were before college, with a fully stocked refrigerator and even a dishwasher to keep things clean. Coming home often makes life much easier.

Coming home means revisiting all of your favorite places around town — restaurants, parks, or museums — with fresh eyes. Being away from these places for months on end only causes you to develop a deeper appreciation for the little things. In my case, the first thing I did upon arriving home was take a trip to my favorite local coffee shop. Not only is the coffee delicious, but going back to the shop itself also brings back numerous memories made over the past four years.

That is one of the best things about coming home — it's as if you're rediscovering parts of yourself that you left behind.

Being back in your hometown also enables you to reconnect with only friends and classmates whom you haven't seen in months or even a full year. Whether it be going for a walk together or grabbing breakfast, being able to update one another on your year of college life makes for great connections. You oftentimes find yourself missing your old friends more than you thought, but once you all get together again, it seems like nothing has changed.

One of my favorite parts of being home is spending more time with my family. I have never felt so grateful for home-cooked meals or a real washer and dryer until I stepped into my house again. Rather than talking on the phone with my parents about our days, I can sit down with them at the kitchen table and have a conversation in person. I also never realized that I would miss my parents — or my dog — as much as I did over the past year.

Though finding activities to pass the time can sometimes get "boring" in one's hometown, spending some time away can reinstate plenty of ideas. My sister and I found ourselves making a list of things we can do throughout the summer, and though some of the things we had done before, it sounded so much more exciting after spending the school year in a different city.

In the end, coming home makes you appreciate your town even more.

Even if you didn't love it before, being home for just a few months keeps you from taking life's finer things for granted. Especially when it's summer, you can relax on your own couch without the stress of school in front of you. Enjoy your city while you can, because it is always there to welcome you back.

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