University worth the cost
A lot of people ask me if it was worth $8,000 a year to get a degree in English.
I tell them “no.”
I say this because I don’t believe you can evaluate the experience of university and all its facets into mere dollars and cents.
Yes, university is a costly expenditure and if you ask the majority of the world whether a piece of paper was worth $30,000 I think we can all collectively agree upon a profound “no.”
However, what society often forgets when we’re calculating dollars of books, tuition, residence, meal plans, insurance, health plans, and the ever-famous pool-fee, is that in the greater scheme of things we’re not just paying for “university.”
We’re paying for something much more than that.
When I first came to Laurier, my goal was simple: to become a teacher. I had it all figured out; I would get a degree in English and a minor in Political Science, making these two topics my teachable subjects. I would graduate, go on to teacher’s college, and become a teacher in Toronto (obviously returning to the greatest city alive) —pretty much the whole nine yards.
But something got in the way of my plans, and that was an entirely different life.
I got busy, I made different friends than who I thought were going to be my #LaurierBesties. I got involved in an extra curricular that would take up a majority of my week and would eventually lead to a sweet editorial job. Finally, I had a massive identity swap where I now find myself debating between which post-grad programs to chose between for a career I never thought I’d enter — journalism.
And who do I have to thank for these four years of laughter, sweat, tears, heartbreak, arguments and happiness? Certainly not the $200.00 textbook my seminar class required.
The truth is the “university experience” we invest in is a test-run for the rest of our lives.
These are the years where we can make mistakes, change our minds and pick a new life path again and again. In four or more years you can literally become an entirely different person than who you were when you were first bombarded by shrieking O-week volunteers on move-in day.
In fact, I’d be confident enough to claim that no one is who he or she thought they’d become.
We are experiencing the moments of true self-discovery.
What I paid for during my four years as an undergraduate student does not simply equal out to the valuable life skills and opportunities I was exposed to while attending school.
A $4,641.00 dorm room charge (in Bouckeart back when it was an all-girls residence, by the way) does not equate to the five ridiculously hilarious roommates I have now.
A $3,244.00 “hearty meal plan” can’t replace the disgusting sandwiches I ate every Tuesday night while chatting with my co-workers at one of the best jobs I will ever have in my entire life.
Spending $80.000 over four years for a pool I never used does not even begin to compare to the below-freezing temperatures I endured while playing Powderpuff flag football in the snow every single winter — and loved it.
And a framed Bachelor’s of Arts degree especially does not represent the rigorous discussions that took place in some of my classes; where students shared original thoughts and groundbreaking theories.
We need to stop dwelling on the unfortunate economics affiliated with attaining a university education. Institutions are going to continue overcharging its students and community for knowledge for the rest of our lives; it’s inevitable.
Student debt is an unfortunate phenomenon and while I do agree that education should not come at such a hefty cost, I’m not going to merely look at my bank account when I think of my “university experience.”
I have a few weeks left here at Laurier and I’m starting now to realize that 20 years from now I’m not going to remember that stupid pool fee.
I’m going to remember the things in my life that were way more important than that.
It cost me exactly $33,918.40 to attend this institution; to obtain a Bachelor’s of Arts with a specialization in English.
And if someone today, tomorrow, or even 50 years from now asked me whether or not it was worth it? I would absolutely say “yes.”
Every. Damn. Cent.