By Ethan Harmon
[Note: The names of the college and my friend will not be mentioned in this article for obvious reasons.]
“If you want to succeed in life, you need to go to college.” We have all heard this. We all know this. But is it true? College is not for everyone, and it does not necessarily mean that obtaining a degree will provide a successful career. I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine, who goes to the same campus as I do. We found our way onto the topic of college, which encompassed our feelings, frustrations and more about the college life. Here is a summary of our thoughts:
A lot of my thoughts centered around the frustrating aspects of college life. First of all, not all classes are necessary. Yes, I do realize you must take classes in order to obtain the knowledge required to understand, comprehend and utilize your education. BUT, who the hell needs to take four science courses if you are striving to become a journalist? Or who needs to take a class about video editing if you are going into the marketing field? Yes, sometimes things overlap, but it seems like time, money and energy wasted for unnecessary courses that have little to no relevance to your major.
Not every class is very accommodating. Some professors require expensive materials, including software that costs hundreds of dollars. Some classes require piles of textbooks, many of which never seem to be used. And if you are going to college, you better get your ass a nice laptop. If you don’t have a laptop, then you’re screwed. If you cannot afford anything you need, a lot of the materials are not readily available.
Worst part (at least for me) comes with the courses themselves. In my experience, a lot of the material taught in class is not utilized, and anything that requires a lot of work, you’ll have to teach yourself. I’ve begun to refer to these courses as “Google Magic.” Basically, I don’t learn much in the class, I have a major project approaching, so I spend several hours on Google teaching myself how to actually do the work. It doesn’t make the massive tuition price tag feel worth it.
Money. Money, money, money. The college experience is essentially a black hole for your bank account. Classes, tuition and materials will burn through your wallet and credit cards like wildfire. And that’s not including the money that must be dropped when certain courses require extra materials half-way through the semester. If you’re trying to save money while in college, there are just two words that sum up your experience: “Good luck.”
Working and going to classes is a physical and mental drain. In order to keep up with bills and college payments, you’ll have to work. A lot. You might even have to hold a few jobs, considering working full-time is very, very difficult since classes are primarily held during regular working hours. And it is difficult to care about balancing everything when you are constantly fighting an uphill financial battle.
The resources available to students are severely lacking. Career centers are ready to help you make a nice resume, and there are labs to help you work on grammar and math, but the wait is ridiculous. And certain majors get the “king” treatment. They are supplied with top-of-the-line everything, while other majors are kicked to the curb. If you’re not part of the primary majors, then have fun struggling through your courses.
Okay, obviously the talk did not place college in the best light. Yes, college teaches and instructs students, providing important information and experience for potential careers. Yes, college does teach lessons that are not present anywhere else. And yes, college can be worth it, if you approach it the right way.
But it seems that we have hit a wall. For us, it has been a drain. Maybe we are just bitching, and maybe we are just tired of getting screwed every semester.
Either way, we came to one conclusion at the end of the conversation: Anything you truly want to accomplish, you have to do yourself. If you have a dream, you have to pursue it yourself and work hard at it. A college degree might help, but it is not the determining factor. Your drive, determination and work ethic will push you to your dreams.