Our desire to learn isn’t enough for American universities.
We have to prove ourselves through grades and standardized testing starting from the moment our brains become capable of questioning the world around us.
Our economy has found a way to capitalize off of our desire to learn rather than nurturing our curiosity about the world around us. It has gotten so intense that menial tasks such as printing and parking are an additional charge to the thousands of dollars we are paying in housing and tuition fees.
Then as we are being molded by our high schools, we are conditioned to think that attending a community college or choosing to immediately enter the workforce are somehow considered to be options that won’t get us to where we need or want to be.
However, in four years time, the people that chose these different pathways won’t be on average $20,000 in debt. So often four-year institutions are flaunted and flashed around, but it isn’t for our benefit— it is for the university as a business.
Today there are many people that struggle with graduating in four years with a bachelor’s degree, it usually takes students five years which only adds to the amount of money that the university will get from us.
But this isn’t always enough. Many jobs out of college are looking for people with a master’s degree. So that’s four to five years of undergrad with an additional two years postgrad.
Finally, in the way our current job market is it is difficult to get a job without prior experience in the field. How do you get experience if no one will hire you?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy learning and working towards getting a degree, but I think we are giving up a lot more than what we bargained for. The university system uses our education to their benefit and I think we should be demanding more from them. It is our money we are going to have to spend the next 10 to 20 years paying off that makes San Diego State and other universities the iconic institutions they are.
We should not have students who are homeless or struggling to provide food or other basic necessities for themselves while the people in charge sit in fancy offices and take home six-figure salaries.
Education should be a human right, but not everyone is allowed the same chances to succeed in their learning environments. Education is something our government has chosen to capitalize on at the expense of the student. Often times, we are stuck in classes that aren’t serving us or what we want to do. Or we are forcing ourselves into career paths that we aren’t necessarily passionate about, hoping to make enough money to pay off the copious amounts of debt we’ve incurred. During college you learn many things about yourself and what you are passionate about, but changing your major or career path can come with a huge waste of time and money.
Education is political when you think about it. The government provides money for public schools so whatever the government wants you to know will be taught and what they don’t want you to know won’t be. The same goes for private schools despite differences in curriculum. By law, we are supposed to know the basic subjects like math, history, science and English.
We should be asking a lot more from these institutions that are fueled by our time and money. We have been told too often that being educated is a privilege and not a right. It should be our human right to be educated about the world around us as truthfully as possible.
As students, we are pawns in a game we always lose, and it’s about time we get a say in our learning.
Ellyse Logan is a sophomore studying international business. Follow her on Twitter @ellyselogan.