Monday, October 7, 2013

The More I See of College the More I Like My Couch.

I'm hoping that one day I'll be as popular as Hyperbole and a Half and then when I only post something every few months randomly everyone will just be so excited and happy that no one is like-

 "where have you been?" "Oh are you back for real this time?" "Why don't you post more?" 
"Dude nobody cares about this blog. Give it up already."

But also that probably takes more skills than I have in my talent closet so you know, sorry again.


I'm a for-real full time University College Student now! I'm going to tell you all about it!


.....It kind of blows.

I know, I know,
a) I should be grateful I get to go to college at all- it's a wonderful opportunity and not everyone gets the chance.
b) I should reserve judgment on large universities until I have completed at least one semester. It's only fair to everyone involved.

But let's review some interesting little factoids* about my college career thus far.
                           *what's the actual definition of factoid? I hope a factoid is a fact that is mostly a fact but sometimes an opinion and consists of huge generalizations. Because that's how I'm using it.

      1.I am 23 years old. I have lived on my own and worked full time jobs for the last four years or so, supporting myself. My parents have not claimed me as a dependent on their taxes for four years.
       Yet I am still required to put their tax information on the FAFSA, which not only looks at income before taxes, it does not care how many other student loans your parents currently have, or any of their expenses beyond their mortgage.
       The result of this is that I receive ZERO financial aid and my parents and I are forced to take out massive loans for my education that we are eventually going to have to admit, despite current denial, none of us can actually afford.

      2. I'm not able to take out enough loans to actually cover all of my expenses while in college, and must therefore keep a job to continue supporting myself. This job amounts to around 20 hours a week.
       According to University expectations I am supposed to be putting in 3-4 hours of study time per credit hour for each of my classes. I am taking 18 credit hours in order to complete school as quickly as possible to save money. This means I should be putting in a total of 62 hours a week minimum when combining in class and out of class time.
       Add in sleeping and you have 138 full hours a week.
       This leaves me a total of 30 hours a week- or 4 hours a day- to complete everything else in my life*. ie: Grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, eating, showering, exercising, etc.

                                     *While technically possible, this sort of just sucks all around. 
      3. Freshman suck.
         And I mean that. As a mostly accurate generalization referring to most teenage college students that just graduated high school and are now starting this new and exciting adventure in their lives and are just super duper excited to not be living at home.
         You're all so cute aren't you? With your new college backpack and your leggings that you think are pants.
         You think you're all independent and adult now. Let me clue you in darlings- you are not. Your parents are shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars so that you can "experience" college life. Because that's what college is for right? The Experience of it.
          This wouldn't be a problem except that I have to listen to conversations like this between lectures:

Look at all of you. You're so adorable pretending to study
while recounting last night's drunken make-out sessions.
Freshman Girl #1: Oh man do we have an exam in this class?
Freshman Girl #2: Um I think it was yesterday.
Girl#1: Oh I don't usually come to this class because I'm so hungover. I go to a lot of parties. With like, Seniors and stuff. Like, we get hammered all the time.
Girl #2: Well how much does one midterm affect your grade anyway? I mean, it's not like Biology is a huge part of Occupational Therapy anyway. And socializing is a more important part of college than grades anyway. I mean if I just wanted good grades I would take online classes like losers do.

     4. Colleges are being marketed not for the quality of education they provide, but for the experience you will have there.
          This annoys me to no end. 

          Thanks to new technology and a growing demand, almost every college has online versions of most of their classes, including lectures by their most revered professors. Harvard and Stanford (among other prestigious schools) offer FREE versions of many of their classes online.
           When I attended my local community college, I found that many of the classes were taught by the same professor that teaches that class at the University in town. You are essentially receiving the same education for 1/3 the cost.

          So what are you paying for to attend a State University? According to their orientation activities and website photos, you're paying for the social interaction, the chance to make friends and connections, the new experiences, and the volunteer opportunities.
            All of these things are awesome. Except that I can do all of these things for free. On my own time.

    "Ok, Miss Know-it-all-cynic-dream-crusher, then why are you attending a State University?"

What a coincidence! I asked myself this same question earlier today, inspiring the writing of this very blog post! Are you guys psychics? Golly!

The answer came to me in the middle of a class discussion about whether or not an online degree should be considered as valid as a "regular" degree by employers. The discussion went something like this:

Student: "Well it's just so easy to get an online degree without doing the work or learning anything. So there is no guarantee the person knows anything."
Me: "Ok, but it's just as easy to skate by at a university without doing your own work or learning anything."
Professor: "Ok so then why pay so much more to attend a university?"
Student: "Well obviously the social interaction and experience."*
*He means this.
Me: "I don't know about you, but I can socialize for free. I'm paying for an education not friendships."
Professor: "So, it is worth it so far?"
Me: "Honestly? No."
Professor: "Aren't you the cynic?"

          Yes sir I am. But unlike my fellow classmates, my opinion seems to be based on experience, research, and common sense. 

Before anyone jumps down my virtual internet throat, let me point out that there are obviously some huge exceptions to this opinion- I for one don't want my appendix removed by a surgeon who got their degree from Phoenix Online University. 
I would also prefer the lab tech drawing my blood to have done it on a real person a few times before me.

I'm just saying- anyone paying $30 thousand bucks a year to earn a degree in European History is getting straight-up screwed.

So, the Ultimate Question: Why am I continuing to attend an over-priced university that provides no significant difference in education while providing a host of unwanted costs, "experiences", and the inconvenience of having to leave my couch and trek through the snow to sit through a lecture?

Answer: Because I already took out the loans and paid tuition and if I drop out now I lose like $15 thousand bucks. So I might as well finish the year. 

But I don't have to be joyous about it. And, as the mere existence of this blog post proves, I'm more productive when I'm grumpy anyway.



  1. Replies
    1. Thanks. I've realized that most of my best posts were written in the midst of a bitter rage-rant. I'm accepting it and using it to my advantage.