The Real College Experience

The Real College Experience


Is attending college really worth it? Ever since we are children it is drilled in our brains that we must go to college in order to be successful in life. Even now, students who decide to end their educational careers during or after high school are frowned upon because it is assumed to be a negative choice in life. No one stops to think if all the challenges and sacrifices made from students chasing a higher education will be worth it in the end. Lately with so much competition in the world around us, a college degree does not guarantee job security straight out of college. College is definitely not an easy journey, and it’s not a secret so it’s obvious to see why many people are opting out of furthering their education. The challenges we endure as college students may vary by person, but the most common challenges faced are financial, educational, and psychological.

Overall, most college students will argue that the financial burden of attending college is what they struggle with the most. According to, Sanford J. Ungar, “Many families are indeed struggling, in the depths of the recession, to pay for their children’s college education” (Birkenstein 227). Although there is financial aid to help college students not everyone qualifies to receive the help. For instance, my friend Monique does not qualify because she lives at home with her parents who make “too much” money, yet they can’t even afford to pay for half of her tuition. She struggles to pay off her tuition of roughly $20,000 a year, with her part time job earning minimum wage. In fact, Ungar contends that “The cost of American higher education is spiraling out of control” (231). With the extreme rate of inflation escalating at such a high percentage each year, it is clear to see why so many college students and their families suffer economic problems. Thanks to such an immense demand in higher education, educational institutions are free to raise their tuition prices as they please. We as students have no choice but to do what we must to pay for our education, which is unjustly overpriced.

In addition, students who are offered internships are conflicted with the decision to take the internship or not, due to the fact that they will not be earning any income while they participate as interns. A perfect example is my friend Mayra, who is attending CSUF and was given the great opportunity to intern in George Mason University to work with politicians 30 hours a week. Despite the fact that this internship is such a good offer she is thinking about rejecting it for two reasons; the first being, the internship will cost her 8,000 dollars and she would have to take out another loan on top of the many loans to pay off her tuition, and secondly, she would be working for free and going to school fulltime, which will not leave her time to work at a job to earn money for everyday necessities and to pay off her loans. Although this opportunity would give her an advantage in the competition to earn a job after college, she does not have the funds to go through with the internship. The unavoidable price of attending college is such a huge factor in a college student’s life.

Another major obstacle that college students face on their pursuit of success through education is academics. Without a doubt, a student’s academic behavior is a main factor in how successful they will be. However, not all students and teachers are the same when it comes to learning styles and techniques. For example, when a professor lectures the whole class period without visual aids to further explain, a student who is a visual learner will have a hard time grasping the lesson that is being taught. Consequently, a student in this situation will have to work a lot harder than others in order to adapt to the professor and pass the class with a satisfactory grade. Furthermore, if a student does not have the very important skill of time management, their grades will not be very rewarding. I believe it is safe to say that procrastination is a plague that lingers through all colleges, and it shows no sign of disappearing. As a full-time college student I wish I could say that managing my time efficiently is not a problem for me, but as the mother of a one-year-old it becomes rather difficult. Between chasing my daughter around keeping her out of trouble and attending to her many needs, I am left with a small time frame to study and get my homework done. Most often I sacrifice a full nights sleep to get all my homework done while my daughter sleeps. Achieving good grades is very important in a college atmosphere, but that is much easier said than done.

Consequently, the combined struggles that arise from the previous financial and academic challenges college students face leads to a psychological impact on students. Since dealing with these problems is fairly new to some people, this may promote added stress to students who are not used to finding themselves in such situations. This leads to very emotionally and physically tired college students. A good example is our class in the mornings, mostly everybody is too tired or motivated to participate in the lecture. In addition, the decision of choosing a major that will lead to a high paying job versus a major that will lead to a job a student will be passionate about can mentally effect a student. In my case, as a mother I have to decide on a major that will offer opportunities with financially stable jobs. As a result, I have to take the extra step to mentally motivate myself every morning to accomplish my academic goals to the best of my ability.  In the process of pursuing a higher education, it is most likely that the previous factors will lead to mentally stressed college students.

As I have stated above, there are many struggles that come along with the college experience. Despite the fact that attending college is falsely promoted as a huge party, we as college students know it is far from being true. According to the norm, being successful means accomplishing a higher education, however to get there means digging deep and surpassing many obstacles that seem to never end until we graduate. Whether our stumbling blocks are money wise, procrastination, or emotional we have to keep looking at the end of the tunnel and push ourselves to succeed.

 

 

Works Cited

 

Birkenstein, Cathy, Gerald Graff, and Russel K. Durst. “They Say/I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, with Readings. N.p.: W. W. Norton, 2015. Print.

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