University: the fall to higher education


Aron Zerby

The Class of 2015 graduated college with the most student debt in US history.

Kaitlyn Olivier , Staff Writer

It eats away at the minds of our next generation like a blood-sucking parasite. Mentally exhausting and relentlessly tiresome, it damages all hopes of enjoying a normal teenage life filled with friends, fun or any form of entertainment. No known cure has been discovered for the epidemic consuming frazzled students by the millions.

I’m not talking about a life-threatening illness, but rather the prospect of earning a college degree.

The levels of stress faced by high school students resulting from school work, college applications, extracurricular activities and parental expectations is shown to impede their abilities to succeed academically, compromise their mental health functioning and foster risk behavior (New York University).

If this is the cost of attaining a higher education, then what is it that has people selling their souls at the University gates?

Long gone are the days where a college diploma was the sparkling centerpiece of the American Dream, the solution to all of our economic and social insecurities if only we had the ambition to graduate. With everyone hopping onto the University bandwagon, a college diploma is nothing more than a single sheet of paper with a signature.

Advancements in technology are gradually relieving the need for a highly educated society, producing a greater demand for creativity and innovation. The diminishing value of the college diploma is just one more rung on the ladder of a society evolving into an era of increasing ingenuity and expressionism.

While the road to a college education is undoubtedly gruesome, the cost of attending a prestigious university is enough to want to be buried alive–perhaps to crawl into the earth, plant some seeds and grow a money tree to pay for it all. The cost of university per student has risen by almost five times the rate of inflation since 1983, making it less affordable and increasing the amount of debt a student must take on (The Economist). This heightened measure of accumulated debt is a looming guillotine hanging by a thread, posing as an added economic hardship to recently graduated students, as if the stress of job-search is not enough to make them lose their heads.

College is never a waste of time. But when we’re paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to earn the same degree as everyone else, this is where we must draw the line. Four years of income often ends up surpassing the amount paid for the total cost of tuition and additional expenses. The opportunity cost of attending four years of college paired with outrageously high levels of stress is not worth the light at the end of the tunnel we call a college degree. We’ll see who’s laughing when we’re up to our eyeballs in student debt.

So, what is it that makes the prospect of attending a four year university so enticing? It’s simple: we want an education, and we want a good one. But we’re wrong in our belief that University is the only answer. Education is not schooling. It is not the amount of homework we complete, the grades we receive on standardized tests, nor the time spent in classrooms, lecture halls or libraries. Where education truly lies is not within the hands of our professors, but rather in the hearts of our explorers. With that said, you can kiss your ‘education’ goodbye–you never needed it anyway.