Dear Olivia Jade,
Almost nineteen years ago I was born in Long Beach, California, to an immigrant mother and a father who would soon be essentially jobless. Both my parents went back to school when I was a child - my father got his law degree online and is now a public defender, and my mother got her degree in biology from Fresno State. It was incredibly difficult for both of them to do this and raise three children, but they did, and I am eternally grateful. From a young age, I was taught that education is important. You make sacrifices for it. It means a lot more to people than game days and partying.
Unfortunately, they never taught me that this country's educational system is incredibly classist (I have Twitter and my AP Composition teacher in high school to thank for that). For this demonstration, I'm going to have to talk about myself more - I'm sure as a vlogger you understand. When I applied to USC, I had a 3.8 GPA, took 9 AP classes, was heavily involved in choir, started a club for mental health awareness, and had written decent essays. I worked hard in high school, and I deserved to get in. But I was pretty privileged compared to most kids. I lived in a two bedroom apartment with my dad, but we were living comfortably. I had a laptop to study with, and if I needed anything for school he was there to support me. Furthermore, my high school's average family income was in the upper 9% compared to other schools, and having rich parents around means bigger donations, smaller class sizes, more extracurricular opportunities and overall a better quality education. The environment I was in encouraged me to succeed in a system where a degree from an elite university is seen as the key to entering the 1%, even though the only people who can truly afford it are in that top 1%. But I was grateful for the opportunities I had been given, and I chose USC because I thought that in the long run, it was worth the financial risk.
Still, sometimes I wished I was like you. You, with your famous parents, YouTube money, millions of followers, and excellent bone structure. You, with your carefree attitude about school, not having to worry about your midterms, not having to worry about getting a job, not having to worry about financial aid. But the fact of the matter is, whether or not you knew about the entire scam, you sit on a throne of privilege and lies. You were admitted to USC because your parents bribed your way in. You and your sister received scholarships from USC when they could have gone to two students who were much more deserving.
I'll admit, when this story broke it hurt me on a personal level. Right now I'm considering taking a year off from school and preparing to transfer, because I literally cannot afford to go here, and it is devastating. I can't tell you how bad it feels, as someone who worked so hard despite struggling with mental illness and was even hospitalized in high school, to get a reality check only halfway through your first semester that going to your dream school is no longer feasible. And I'm not alone. I have too many friends in similar situations, who have either accepted their impending debt, or who may drop out. We are the minority at USC, but the unfortunate majority of college students. We aren't here to have fun, we're here to get a degree. To get a job. To not disappoint our parents who sacrificed so much for us. To survive.
And that's why you should drop out.
At orientation, we were all told the five traits of a Trojan: faithful, skillful, scholarly, courageous, and ambitious. I do not know you well enough to know if you are faithful, courageous, or ambitious (skillful at social media and marketing, maybe), but you are most certainly not scholarly (aside from the whole mom paying $500,000 to get you in thing, your school-hating tweets are further proof). And if you and your sister don't drop out of USC, you won't have any integrity either. Two hard-working, bright, and deserving transfer applicants will be denied the opportunity of getting to study at an amazing school because of you taking their spots. They need this degree. You don't.
If, by a long shot, you're reading this, I hope you don't see this letter as a personal attack, rather, advice. An expression of concern on behalf of the student body. After all, you don't need a college degree to party in LA.
A broke, frustrated, yet hopeful college student.