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College, Young’Uns and Ugly Reality

I was sitting in a college orientation listening to the ‘rah-rah’ which was literal, in this case, and I’d commented on social media I was having trouble not making snarky comments. Partly because I graduated not-that-long-ago and I’m maaaybee a bit cynical about these college officials and what they say to parents versus how they treat students as disposable cash cows. But my friend stood up and filled in for what I wasn’t going to say, and in typical Wolfie fashion, it’s rough and tough full of truthiness. 

Envision a wolf wearing a sharply tailored zoot suit strutting up on the stage and popping his collar… 

 

You don’t want to snark? Let uncle Wolfie have a go…*hacks and drinks some milk to try and clear some of the very fresh crispy really fucking bitey, jalapeno burning sensation from my throat* Ahhh fellow parents and family members of incoming students, annnd you incoming students, lend me thine ears! The faculty here can feel free to tune out for a couple minutes. Kids? I’m gonna call you kids because I’m fucking old, deal. The faculty here will start giving you all this ra ra ra speechifying. About how awesome this useless edifice of supposedly higher education is and by extention, how awesome they are. Now some of them might actually be worth their overly high salaries and benefits. I doubt it, but it does happen. Now.. Why? Because they WANT you to stay. At least 4yrs. 

By show of hands, how many of you incoming students of this highly indistinguished institution already have locked down or plan to lock down, part time jobs to supplement whatever loans you might have? *waits for show of hands* Ahhh now I’m guessing some of you are here for liberal arts degrees, some for business and whatever else you might be doing. Those of you in the business and engineering, sciences, mathematics and other classes can expect a decent nights sleep to be a thing of the past. When you aren’t in class you’re going to be either working on classwork, labwork or AT your new job. Depending on the job and leniency of your new bosses you might even be studying while on the clock at your new job. I bid you joy of that grind, it was never my favorite thing. However it will be necessary. 

Now for those of you in the liberal arts category…you are most of you , going to be working part time, pissing away your money and have your so called professors tell you about the wrongs of the world and the social injustices as they see them, and working on swaying you to their mind set. You can do two things. you can be smart enough to call them on it, because you’re better historically read than they are, as to the way the world works, or…you can become good little mindless drones. Who spout your professors, the main stream media’s and…most importantly the the federal fucking gov’ts talking points. This I leave up to you. 

Oh back to what you’re taking for a minute. Math and business majors? Any of you REALLY good at doing large sums in your head? Oh good. Now just for the sake of argument..lets say your tuition each semester is 8k. that’s if you’re a local. it’ll nearly double if you are from out of state. You go for the fall and spring semesters and skip summers to build up revenue working full time during what would be the summer semester. This is simple math even for me, that comes out to 16k for basically a year. Right? *heads nod* WRONG that money does not include lab fees, or any other fees related to your specific course work like equipment. This ALSO doesn’t include tiny insignificant things like FOOD for the weeks or months you’re here. Now if you happen to live nearby and off campus it ALSO don’t include your rental fees on the apartment you live in, or gas/insurance etc for your vehicle, doctors appointments, equipment like cameras or computers you end up buying for school or your specific course… etc, etc ad fucking nauseum ad mother fucking infinitum. Or for you that don’t grok what I just said it means for ever and ever til you wanna puke in a never ending loop. Now some of you supposedly smart kiddies out there are thinking, but yeah I got a gov’t backed loan, I’m good. *facepalm* if you REALLY think your LOAN is going to cover all that? You’re REALLY fucking bad at math. It’ll cover SOME, not ALL. Now if you have a good enough scholarship, that and the loan will cover a fair chunk. But those really good scholarships tend to go to sports players and those in the STEM fields. Depressed yet? GOOD. I want you actually thinking this shit THROUGH instead of letting these fuckers that are going to be blowing all this rah rah, sunshine, rainbows and unicorn farts, sucker punch you! 

Oh how many of your who are here on sports scholarships think you’re going to be playing pro ball for whichever sport, after you get out and making lots of money as a major league sports star? *takes a drink and ends up spitting it out at the show of hands* Okay, that one was a bit of a shocker. Hands down sports enthusiasts. Okay…got a really depressing news flash for you, only a small percentage of you will get picked by a major league team. Only a small finite percentage of you, will actually get to that ‘millions and millions upon fucking untold millions’ of dollars to play, so you kids BETTER be as good as you think you are. Also..here’s the thing that sooo many up and comers in the sports world among football players for sure, not sure on the rest of the sports, don’t know. In the NFL? You can sign a contract with a team but..if you don’t get PLAY TIME? You. Don’t. Get. Paid! I see looks of shock. What? You thought you were gonna get paid to look pretty and sit on your ass? don’t work that way. Nice dream though. 

Now that I’ve shocked and insulted your supposed teachers, and shocked the ever loving shit out of you young uns with reality..and embarrassed the ever loving shit out of my niece..I’ll leave you with one more happy thought. Those gov’t backed loans you think are so great? Guess what? You can NOT write those off if you ever have to file for bankruptcy. THOSE still have to be paid. Because what so many of you FAIL to understand is that the GOVERNMENT IS We the people, and we the people expect a return on our goddamn investment! For those of you in STEM and business fields, unless you flunk out, or switch majors, I expect good things of you. Those of you going after liberal arts degrees? YEah I expect to be laughing at your willful ignorance and naivete til I die. Go ahead liberal arts majors, shock me. learn something and impress me and don’t follow the herd. That is all

*Walks off the stage amid the stunned silence,after his blunt and nasty speech. Said silence soon to be followed by screams of outrage and denial in 5. 4. 3. …* damn where’d I put those earplugs.

30 thoughts on “College, Young’Uns and Ugly Reality

      1. Birthday? What are those? 👿

        Seriously, thank you Cedar. I don’t like having birthdays but it beats the alternative…. of being dead. 😉

          1. Doing fine. Of course, I wish I was a dragon. For dragons, 64 years old is very young. 😉

            1. Now do you understand why my reply about age to most people is “I don’t wanna grow up! I’m a Toys R Us Kid!” ?
              Only a cruel and heartless bastard will bring up their bankruptcy and dissolution. *sniff* I don’t care though. once a toys r us kid, always a toys r us kid.

    1. I don’t regret getting my BS. But I was forty, and a mother of four, when I graduated at that level. There are things I wish I’d done different, and it was worth it, but I know how easy it is to go very wrong, and I worry over my kids.

      1. You knew _exactly_ what that degree certified you to do and what jobs it plugged into. It wasn’t a luxury item for you.

  1. On some stratas of society, anyway, the message is getting out. I work for a traditional, live on campus, four year university that has historically provided the liberal arts “college experience” to the children of working class blue collar families. That market has essentially vanished over the last decade.

    The students that we are getting now are much more canny shoppers, they do comparison shopping for living space–dorms vs, living at home vs. apartments off campus. They tend to pick up most of their general ed requirements at either community colleges or some form of distance learning. The only departments that are thriving are those that offer a very definite degree that is required for a particular career path. Special/Deaf Education is doing well, as as are pre-Health Career degrees, the Cyber Security Certificate programs and the Bean Counter side of the MBA program.

    I’m not seeing incoming freshman who are going to college because “it’s the thing to do”. These students by and large know exactly what they want from an education and are how much it’s going to cost against a projected ROI. There are still a few “undecided” and “XYZ Studies” majors, but I’m seeing restructuring of departments along functional lines–how can we provide what the students need to get the job they want as efficiently as possible.

    This has caused some brutal layoffs–less than a month ago we had a 10% reduction of staff–27 positions eliminated from just over 280 employees. Is it going to be enough to save the university? That remains to be seen. But it is clear that austerity in the new watchword. We are selling a product, not transforming the world or thinking deep thoughts. Things that don’t relate to producing that product are going to be jettisoned.

    As I say, the university where I work is on the more reasonably priced end and I’m sure we’re feeling the pinch first. The higher end institutions no doubt will be able to coast for a while longer. And there will always be institutions that cater to giving children of the very rich a four year party after high school. But I think we’re seeing an end to the “everyone must go to college” experiment. That bubble has burst.

    1. Wolfie here. if the bubble has truly burst then good. I see kids though who still buy into the BS and whose schools are pushing them. one of my nieces [not cedars kids this time] just graduated middle school and the other just finished freshman year at high school and they are pushing the shit out of them to spend summers taking course so they can get to college FASTER and maybe take college courses while still in HS.

      1. I think that reality will take a while to filter up the food chain. My university is a small Catholic one without a huge endowment and so has had to respond to market changes quickly. Bigger ones seem to still think that this is a minor downturn in the market rather than a fundamental change in education buying habits.

        Or I could be wrong. But I don’t think so.

        1. I think the existence of MOOC and similar programming will make big difference, too. Personally I’m eyeballing a micro-masters program through MITx. I don’t have time to do traditional graduate school.

  2. Nothing like a whiff of reality ….
    Honestly, college for all is one massive racket.
    And I speak as one who went to college. (A community college and then a public uni, and lived at home, with a series of piddling jobs which paid all the expenses, thanks. But that was forty years ago.)

    1. Celia…it always was. It got even worse when gov’t got involved in backing and giving school loans. The schools started seeing guaranteed money and went ‘ohhh lets raise prices!’
      but that’s a whole nother rant

  3. That made me think immediately of the cartoons that they used to show new recruits, the best known of those about keeping their mouths zipped and their pants closed. Under the reasonable assumption that anything their Sergeants said, that did not have to do with keeping said Sergeants immediately gratified, was going to go in one ear and out the other.

    Oops, that was mouths closed and pants zipped. Same thing, yes?

    In any case, it would be great if someone produced this script, and then had it made required viewing for every HS graduating class. Dreams are nice…

    1. I have more to it that I wrote up shortly thereafter. Still trying to decide if Cedar is gonna post it as a part two or…just dump it in the comments section.

      1. eh… got half a mind to dump it on my blog and let cedar link to it. I don’t really go over there much anymore however. Can’t remember last time I wrote a post on it

  4. Well, I just had my own ‘Bah. Humbug!’ moment.
    I earned all of my degrees from state (public) schools, and I commuted. But, the LAST degree I earned was in 1996, and that was JUST after the state had instituted a lottery, with the funds GUARANTEED BY LAW to go toward education: college scholarships, increase in teacher salaries, some other stuff. The big news, though, was the college scholarships, called the HOPE Scholarship. The initial deal was that if you had a high school ‘B’ average, and you maintained it during college, you could go to a state school and your tuition was paid.
    The first thing we (the public) suspected was that the legislature would comply with the plan not to use the money for something else for a while, then re-write the rules. Evidently, though, there was a poison-pill provision, that if the legislature tried that, it killed the entire program.
    Well, I just found out what the hidden consequence of the program turned out to be.
    Seems that the state colleges and schools have increased the tuition at an indecent rate, and added in a BODACIOUS assortment of fees, in the last decade or two.
    JUST tuition, at the state, commuter university where I graduated in 1978, 1982, and 1996, used to be about $750 for the full year, with a $30 Student Activity Fee. Now, this was a no-frills education, because that’s what most of us wanted. We had jobs, we went to classes, we graduated. We never went to whatever baseball games or basketball games that were held, because nobody cared, and we had families and lives.
    And then, the Hope money became available. Heck, no need in letting all that go to waste, is there? Now, at that SAME school, the cost for last year is $10,686 for a year, and over $2000 of that is ‘fees.’ this next year, tuition alone will be $8,558 per year.
    And the HOPE scholarship is still available, and it pays 81.68% of the TUITION, not fees, for those who maintain a 3.0 GPA, and that’s GREAT! They pay $6,990; you pay $1,568. Plus $2000 in fees.
    But if you drop below a 3.0? Toast. For AT LEAST a year.

    Crud. If I was still in school, I’d riot in the streets, too.

    1. CA has something similar to the HOPE scholarship except- if either of your parents for even an Associate’s, you’re ineligible.

  5. Everything I read about college these days helps reconcile me to the fact that I couldn’t persuade the college-ready kid to go to a “good” liberal arts college like the ones I wanted to attend.

  6. a bunch of the people I went to college with are constantly complaining about their $250-$350/mo student loan payments…

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