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A Little Bit of Reflection

So recently Prof Myers said that it is not compulsory for us to talk about something which only smells scientific in this blog. And thus, I want to take this little time to invite you to do a little bit of reflection (as I reflect this upon myself).

As many of you may agree easily on this, I feel that there is a lot of work needs to be done in university, especially in this UW class (and maybe that’s why they gave it 4 credits). For instance in this class we need to post entries in our class blog, give comments, read articles, write essays, write reflections, and right now trying to get our project done given the limited time and energy. I am sure you guys are busy as well with other classes (which might be busier than UW) and perhaps (to be very honest) this class is not the 1st priority. And not to mention the extra curricular activities. But that’s okay. Everyone has a little different priority and I think every professor understands that.

Well oh well, I started to go off topic, but anyway, the thing that I really want to ask is this: how worthy is it to study in university? Let’s bear with me in doing engineering economic analysis for this. Let’s say we will finish our undergraduate program in 4 years, that means we (or rather, our parents) have to pay for that 4 year of tuition fee, which is not very cheap, especially in the US. And besides, we forgo the opportunity to do something else out there than ‘just’ being ‘imprisoned’ here in university for 4 years. But since we are all studying in GWU, I think we must justify/defend our decision to study in college. So, how does studying in the university outweigh all the costs?

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  1. April 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I think that is a very valid question that you pose. It is one that surely GW students must question more than the majority of college students- our tuition is 60,000 dollars! when I think about it, I don’t really understand why it is so much! I understand the cost of housing, food, and book. What I do not understand is how they arbitrarily it seems throw out a number for the tuition, and just assume that it’s acceptable. Why should it cost me $200 per class that I go into? Yes, i did the math. And if I skip my next econ class, that just wasted my parents $200. I’m not in the mood to go to math? Another $200 down the drain. Who put such a high premium on college? Why is college tuition the equivalent to $5000 for the entire year in European countries, when it is 30-50 grand a year overseas? It just doesn’t make any sense

  2. ProfMyers
    April 10, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    This is such an important question for our nation to be asking! Here’s a rundown of some of the reasons for rising tuition from a DailyKos blogger:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/08/1080342/-Rush-Limbaugh-is-right-College-tuition-is-too-high-It-goes-without-saying-he-s-wrong-about-why-?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dailykos%2Findex+%28Daily+Kos%29

    The short version:

    * decreasing federal and state support for universities and colleges combined with more readily available student loans, which has shifted the cost of education from the government/public sector to the private individual
    * more professional administrative staff and rising salaries for administrative positions(i.e., folks who work only as administrators and are not faculty serving in an administrative capacity)
    * more student services facilities & staff salaries (a 280% since 1976!)

  3. ProfMyers
    April 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Also, per uwblogger2’s math: don’t skip class! it’s expensive!

  4. April 10, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    A friend and I were having a conversation recently about this general topic, in which he said, “This [attending colelge] is our only option.” He finds that upsetting, wishing he had more options, but I told him it didn’t upset me at all. College is ridiculously, unnecessarily expensive, yes — but we are so lucky to be here. I believe education is the most important thing in the world, and since we are ABLE to attend a top university, it is our responsibility to succeed here, despite whether or not we’re tired at the end of the day.

    Furthermore, one can not really do much in this country without at least a college degree. Personally, I want to be a teacher, and intend to get my BA in Psychology here and then get my masters degree in education. I can’t advance to the next level of my life (graduate school) without completing my undergraduate education.

    Lastly, if you ask me, the goal of the privileged(us) is to ultimately help those, in whatever way we decide, who need help. There’s a lot of really interesting articles out there on why college tuition is so high. And while I think it’s important to question why our parents (and maybe sometimes us as individuals) are spending so much on college, we also have to appreciate that we are here and are fully capable of making a difference.

  5. April 11, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Although I am eternally grateful for my parents having sent me to college, I often find myself wondering if I’m really ready to take advantage of the opportunity presented to me. Since coming to GW, I realized that I would’ve preferred to take some time off and work or maybe travel before attending school, and use that time to think about what I wanted to do with my professional life. But, as has already been stated, we live in a society where a bachelor’s degree is, in most instances, a necessary prerequisite for a successful career and because of that I feel like the most practical thing we can do is finish school as soon as possible.

  6. anthonypribadi
    April 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Hi everyone! I actually did not really intend to discuss about the expensive price of college that much. But that’s okay. It was a good discussion. But I was more interested to know what are the things that you guys got (or you think will get) in university. Mentioning the high price was only intended to trigger us to think a little bit more that there must be something really good in here that we’re experiencing each day for 4 years of our time here.

    As for me, I feel that these are the things that I’ve got in college, and let me share them: Firstly, obviously I got education, not only for my major discipline, but I could choose some classes purely just to fulfil my random interest. Secondly, I got the chance to participate in a few CCAs, and that helped to improve administrative, networking, and leadership skills. Also, I got a chance to do study abroad, which has been a really good experience overall. Last but not least, I have met a lot of new friends in college, some of them are now my good friends. And I think good friends are priceless, and so I’m really grateful for them.

    At least because of those reasons, I think the benefits that I got in college outweigh the tuition cost that I (or rather my parents) have to pay.

  7. leimaf
    April 11, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Often, but especially when I am discouraged or have just received an unsatisfactory grade, I sit around and wonder not “what is the meaning of life?” but “what is the purpose of college?”. I think about how a hundred years ago I would not have to have been sitting in class all day in order to be rendered knowledgable or achieve success (Even though I would also never achieve neither being a woman, but that is besides the point). I like to think that even if I did not spend all day doing work between my classes and the library that I would still be a worldly, well-read, and knowledgable person. My sentiment is contingent with that of those who say a university is what you make of it whether it is a community college or an Ivy-League college. This is because although teachers can provide guidance and resources can make tools accessible, learning can only be done by the individual himself. Even if someone did not go to school if they spent most of their day reading, observing, researching, enquiring due to an innate interest in whatever subject is in question then that person would eventually be as knowledgable, if not more knowledgable due to the power of interest, as a person in a class related to that subject.
    As our society has become more specialized we need people to be “experts” in fields as specific as “fashion merchandising”, “gender studies”, “agriculture”, and “physical fitness”. Now, let’s think back to a hundred years ago. Where there people who knew a lot of each of these topics? Certainly. Did they have to go to school to know it? Probably not, even if they did. So what are we paying for? A title and babysitting. With so many degree-holders for each career path, titles are what separate people who are new and have no other way of distinguishing themselves. If there is no other way to assess ability, it is assumed that someone from a more prestigious, and therefore more expensive, university will be more adept than the community college graduate. This person will, therefore, be more likely to get a job and start making money allowing them to see an immediate and greater return on their parent’s investment:tuition. In addition, we also live in a time of many distractions. It was much easier for Abraham Lincoln to teach himself to read because he lived in a setting with nothing but his family, livestock, work, and books. Today, books have been replaced by video games, television, restaurants, malls, night clubs, etc. Since there is an increasing need for children not to contribute to household income, and so many distractions available, making university the norm forces children to choose learning over diversion.

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