Wednesday, June 25, 2014

College - Worth The Cost Or Not?

   I've been seeing a lot about college lately; more specifically, the cost of college and student loan debt. There's a lot of heated opinion about college and about paying back student loans and the cost, and is college worth the cost of being in debt for the next ten years (or more).
  I can't say that I have an answer to that, for the population in general. For me, the holder of a BA in one field, an AA in another, and still working outside both fields, in retail, I say yes. Maybe I've bought into the hype; I don't know. Maybe ten years from now, I'll be pissed that I spent ALL that money on an education.
  But, my life has improved. From someone who started her higher education by getting a GED (meaning that I didn't even have a high school education, of course), I can say that I live better than I did before, even with the debt, which I do have. I am student-loaned out like a motherfucker, 40k biatch, and my student loan payments do constitute as my second largest bill (rent being first, food being third). I went to a community college for my AA, but remember, not only do I work as many hours as my job will give me, I've also got the single mom thing going for me, so I was getting a maximum of four hours of sleep. When I decided to continue on with my education, I looked for online programs, which tend to be more costly than regular old, run-of-the-mill college campuses. And I chose a different degree, which does account for some of the cost - this is for two separate degrees, even if I did transfer some of my AA's credits, there were still a lot that were just not relevant to my new field of study.
   My daughter's dreams improved as my education did. She went from wanting to be a cashier like mommy to wanting to go to college like mommy. Mommy is still a cashier, but damn it, she's a finely, over-educated one, and my daughter still wants to go to college, and mommy still wants her to go, even with her second largest bill being student loans. I've lived with no education, and that sucks big time; I do not want that for my daughter.
   But, in my value of my (costly) education, you need to understand, I lived a large part of my life with someone doing their best to convince me that I was stupid. Going to college, that was my way of dispelling that belief - one that I had bought into. So that is one reason that I still value my seemingly worthless education. Another - well, this blog isn't perfect. I try to edit out grammar and spelling mistakes, but I tend to only spend about thirty minutes on a post. They're fast things for me that I can pound out after work but before making my daughter dinner. If you are reading this, you may find a mistake or two, but in the large part, you are also benefiting from my higher education. Imagine the mistakes that would have been up in this post before Writing 101 and Writing 235 got their happy hands on me.
   I guess what I am trying to say is this: like everything in this world, education's value is relative. How much does having an education mean to you? How much will your life improve? You will probably go into debt, almost undoubtedly - unless you manage to pimp out your education with grants and scholarships (good for you if you can!!!), but people are perfectly willing to go into debt for things like cars - something that will probably not even last them ten damn years, and they do so because they think having a car will either bring value into their lives or ease hardship, or whatever. For me, education has brought value into my life, so while my debt can be a struggle, I manage. Because this was something that I wanted. Ten years from now, maybe I'll be pissed that I was so naive, so financially clueless, but right now, I don't think so. My self esteem has benefited, my daughter's goals have improved, and my writing has benefited. Who knows, down the road, what other aspects of my life will benefit, if any, but regardless, I think that higher education is still worth something, even beyond a salary. But that is something that everyone will have to decide for themselves, just like any other major life decision. 

1 comment:

  1. Great share, speaking as a mother of a just finished first year of college taking a summer class daughter I say college is way to expensive. I would think as a country we would want all our citizens to have a great education which in turn brings about a greater country but I have realized that is not the case. When my family embarked in the college journey one of the guidelines were we would do best we could with what we had and loans and grants were not an option. I refused to have my child in debt so early in life or put myself in any lengthy debt as well. Again great share :)