The price tag on college is the largest it has ever been. It is more than one trillion dollars. In Susan Dynarski’s article about student debt she explains that borrowing is worldwide, but only in America there is this huge debt: ”despite this widespread borrowing, there is no student debt crisis in Sweden, because payments are spread out over 25 years. They also start out low, rising slowly over time. In the United States, the typical repayment period is just 10 years.” This ten year payment plan America has puts students in a choke hold. Students are not only taking loans, but also risks when going to college. So in this topsy turvy college system all students need to take control and make college worth it.
My parents are paying for a lot of my college. My family has been very privileged. Almost everyone in my family has gone to college. My grandparents worked very hard to give my parents, aunts, and uncles all the opportunity to go to college. Then they gave all their kids the chance to go to college. A couple of them did not go to four year schools but they went to trade schools instead. Even though everyone has gone to college, it still is taking a lot for my parents to send me here. So if I mess up and cost them thousands of dollars they would be crazy mad. I am the youngest in the family, so looking up at all the success they have had, the pressure is really on. I am not taking the privilege my parents gave me lightly, and I will work just as hard as they did so I can also send my future children to school.
A college degree seems almost necessary to move up in the job world. When talking about four-year college degrees there seems to be two kinds, STEM and liberal arts. But when graduating from a liberal arts school this also gives you a step up above the other college graduates who have a STEM education. This edge is the extra classes you have to take. The arts, English Literature, Modern Languages, History, and Philosophy, give students an alternate of state of mind. They teach a new way of thinking. STEM is still very necessary in the world. We do need scientists, technicians, engineers, and mathematicians, but we also need people who can think outside the box. That open mindedness is very necessary in the world.
Another necessary part for this world is environmental science. I came to Saint Norbert College for this area of study. It is easy to see that the world is falling apart. The rain forests are being cut down at an alarming rate, and the ocean is becoming more and more acidic every day because of our constant carbon emissions. The things we have taken for granted like clean water soon may be limited. This is where I want to help. With an environmental science degree, I will try to fix these problems. When I graduate from college they gain an edge over most people. I will have the newest possible education in my field, and I will become specialized. This specialization gained from a college education opens a whole new branch of jobs— A branch of jobs that only me, and other people with the same major, can get. I think just about everyone who goes to college is looking to get a good job after. But college might not be worth it if everyone has a college degree. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wanted to make college free. People went crazy at the thought of that, some agreed and some disagreed. The people who agreed thought that college debt was too high, while the people who disagreed showed that college is a privilege. Not everyone can go to college, or the college degree means less.
College is always said to be a time of both fun and study, but I find it tough to decipher when to have fun, and when to get work done. With lots of free time, and friends to hang out with, the time to draw the line can be blurry. I am trying to become more independent because gaining independence is a huge reason to go to college. Besides organizing time for friends and work, students have to feed themselves and do their own laundry. For many people this is a tough transition. Also for many students, this is their first time living alone without their parents. They have no adults to look over them and they have to make every decision by themselves. With this new independence, students will have to decide major choices. These choices will not only affect me, but my parents also,
Even though college is thousands and thousands of dollars, I will learn a particular set of skills to help me gain a better job. Once I am out of school the world is mine. But besides learning my major, I will learn how to be an adult and how to gain independence. With all of these newly learned skills I am sure I will make college worth it.