Our society expects most, if not all, teenagers to go straight to college after high school. For that reason, I have looked forward to going to a college since I was in grade school. What I didn’t know when I was younger was the price tag that came along with a college education. Student debt is a huge problem in America. College tuition, and other costs associated with a higher education, have skyrocketed in the past few years.
With the cost of a college education being so expensive for this generation I’m constantly asking myself, “What can I do to make my experience worth it?” Honestly, I have no idea what I can do to make the best of my college years. Yes, I could be like most people and say, “get good grades and try new things or put yourself out there,” but that’s a typical and bland answer. A higher education degree is the requirement for any job nowadays. I believe the price of higher education is beyond absurd in this generation, but a good education these days comes with a price tag. I could go to a UW school and pay a third of what I am now, but I wouldn’t receive the same experience that I am going to. So, I could say that the experience I will receive is how I can make my college years worth it. I want new experiences, but that is not all that I want. The impact of college debt will have on my future has been on my mind 24/7. I don’t know whether or not I will be financially stable enough to pay off my debt after school. Plus, the United States gives you six months to find a job after college, which is nice, but only gives a student ten years or a certain set amount of money a month, whichever gives the larger sum of money, to pay off your loans. That scares me because I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get the job I want because of my debt. I am going to be trying to pay it off in that short period of time. With that in mind, why am I willing to put myself through the burdens of loans and constant stress? I want to receive the best education that I can no matter the risks. I want the best in the world and have big dreams that I want to accomplish. I have no intention of settling for second best.
I would not be able to reach my goals in life with just a high school diploma or from a 2-year tech school or even a 4-year UW school. I was always brought up to go big or go home. So, I would not choose a college that wasn’t the best. At first, I was going to apply to as many UW schools as I could. I ended up only applying to St. Norbert and Marquette University. Marquette University was, and still is, my dream school. The only reason I couldn’t attend Marquette was because it is far too expensive for me, even with scholarships and money from the school. After doing some research and visiting campus I knew SNC was for me.
When I finally decided on St. Norbert, it was because they offered me the most scholarships and financial aid compared to the other school I applied to. Another reason I chose SNC is because it’s a liberal arts school. It was important to me to go to a liberal arts school because classes are more flexible and you don’t have to focus on the STEM classes. The degree I want to get is in sociology and criminal justice. The average science, technology, engineering, and math classes do not apply to what I want to be, so why would I pay money to get an education that won’t help me in the future? That is the exact reason I chose SNC. It was the best choice for me towards my education and overall life. The campus is not too small and not too big. You’re able to know almost everyone, but still meet new people everyday. I graduated from a very small school. My graduating class had only seven kids, including myself. I never had to really worry about graduating because I could skip classes or not do my work and still be able to pass. I needed a place not too big or not too small so that I wouldn’t be able to think I could act like it was high school all over again.
Some students to fail out of college is not doing their work or just missing class. Getting good grades and actually going to class is something I am going to live by, since I didn’t do that before. Throughout high school I didn’t care about my grades and going to class because I knew either way I’d graduate and get into some type college. School had never been an easy thing for me. I was always struggling in someway, whether it was falling behind in my classes or just not knowing what I was doing. I know that I can’t have that type of mentality in college because I will fail most of my classes right away. I have no idea how putting homework and classes before everything will go. It may turn out to bite me in the butt or could be the best thing for me. I won’t know until I actually do it. The least of my priorities is putting myself out there and living the other college life. I need to focus most of my attention on my classes because if I don’t, it will not be pretty. Plus, I’m paying an arm and a leg for my education so I really can’t treat it like it’s nothing.
Now, to try answer the question, “What can I do to make my college experience worth it?” I am still not completely sure how I am going to do that, but I do know I want to make the most of my time here. I can’t put it into words how it can be made worth it. I am the first person in my family to go to college, so I want to make them proud and show them that I can do this. I don’t know how I want to make everything “worth it.” I won’t know if everything I decide to do in college will be “worth it” until I’m old and gray looking back on my life. My plan is to let whatever happens, happen because I’m still trying to figure out my answer to this question. Yes, I want to get good grades the entire time, make new friends, and put myself out there, but that’s not enough. To me, this experience will be worth it when I stop caring about how much debt I am going to be in after college because once that happens then I know that everything is going to be worth it.
In conclusion, I don’t know how my experience here will be worth it, but I do know I am going to make the most of my time here that I can. No one can predict the future because it’s not set. Things change everyday and that is how I’m going to look at my experience here. Some days it will be bad and I’ll most likely question myself and wonder if it was a good idea to come here. Other days I will be reminded that me coming here was the best choice for my family and I. My plan is to take it day by day and let my life “come” to me. I’m not going to try and force my life to be a certain way because that’s how you end up with regrets. The last thing I want is to make it seem like St. Norbert was a bad decision because it was most definitely not. So, no I don’t know what I’m doing here, but I do know I am just trying to make my parents proud and get the education so that I will be able to achieve my goals and dreams.