Dear College Senior

This time, my friend asked me to talk about this.

To whomever wrote this:

Congratulations.  You’re a hard worker and a brilliant student who can pull a “3.8 GPA” while working “30+ hours a week”.  You’re also a college senior.  For UCs, Fall 2008 tuition was 73 percent of Fall 2010 tuition.  I’m guessing if you were a freshman, a sophomore, or even a junior, you wouldn’t be able to cover your school fees through senior year even by working as much as you have.

Working a minimum wage job and getting by in a small apartment doesn’t require a degree if you’re satisfied with that life, in which case there wouldn’t much point to that education.  You could have saved even more money by not going to school at all.  That’s not to say that college is bad—more like it should be restricted to people who know what they want to do with a degree.

If people didn’t feel compelled to attend institutions of higher learning, universities would need better incentives to beef up their attendance: incentives such as lower fees.  We wouldn’t want to harm our centers of learning for intellectual adults.  On the other hand, becoming intelligent, critically thinking adults is already a pretty big incenti-oh, wait. AHEM Lowering fees is probably a better idea.

Before you start implying that Occupy people are lazy whiners, remember that some of them are also hard workers.  Yes, there are a lot of lazy people who should realize that someone’s got to roll up their sleeves and do the so-called menial work.  However, there are people who already have their share of bad luck without the economy’s effects factoring in.  Not everyone can work your hours and pull your grades.  I’ve heard of a girl who studies much more than I do, but still gets scores only slightly above average.  Sometimes, people who work harder and technically make more money actually make less due to income taxes, courtesy of whoever makes the policy and whatever economic events affect that decision.  Once upon a time, your family could tighten their belts a bit and pinch their pockets a little and you had the money you needed to go to a college you wanted to attend.  Now, you and your parents take out separate loans and still can’t cover tuition—never mind all those other required fees that get tacked on—plus you apply around for any school that will take you.  People who do have the option of taking two years in a community college before transferring but since it’s an increasingly popular option, the issue becomes competing for spots in transferable classes.  The situation may be “not that bad” but it definitely doesn’t encourage optimism either.

Your perspective is your perspective.  Remember that there are a lot of people in this boat.