Colleges are weird. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the role they play in our society—the bizarrely unique role—and how that affects everyday life. I have so many thoughts on so many aspects of this subject that this is mostly going to be a greatest hits of collegiate musings rather than a declaration of any real opinions, but isn’t that just so collegey anyway?
For starters, student athletics. Good for you, Northwestern football players. The amount of money that D1 schools make off of their athletes is absolutely absurd. I don’t know what the perfect model for the situation is, but I approve of steps being taken to figure that out. Student athletics = weird.
Next, the cost. Fuck college. Jesus H. Christ, I am going to be paying so much money for such a long time for my college education. No one in my family had really gone to college before me, so there wasn’t a ton of financial advice flying around the McGackin household in the build up to my orientation. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t have gone, or that I regret my experiences, but the cost of a college education these days is bullshit. I was lucky in that I went to a highly focused arts college and didn’t have to take a lot of unnecessary courses; I couldn’t imagine having to pay for two years of nonsense courses at a big school before even dipping into my major. Not that my career today has anything to do with my undergraduate major…
As I said, I’ll be paying for my education for decades to come, but that doesn’t stop my two alma maters from CONSTANTLY asking me for money. It’s fucking annoying. I know plenty of people whose rule is, “I’ll give back to the school once I finish paying off my loans,” but the fact that the school would expect us to continue giving them money after we pay off those loans is also kinda ridiculous. What exactly are you doing with the $40,000/year that you get from students that you need to raise millions in donations each semester, too? What the fuck is going on? I understand that colleges/universities like to foster a family atmosphere—”alma mater” is Latin for “nourishing mother,” after all—but it seems gauche to me to constantly ask your collegiate “family” for money when they’ve already given you tens of thousands of dollars. Get real.
And talk about balls: my graduate school, USC, cancelled my program and STILL CALLS ME ASKING FOR MONEY. “Hey, so we don’t value your degree or your alumni community, but we still would love it if you considered yourself a Trojan and gave us money every year so we can have a great football program while not paying our athletes. What’s that? Oh, you heard about the $200M donation we received for the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences? No, none of that is going towards writing at all, sorry. How does $250/month sound?”