Being an American Student Is Rough

Elle Scott

Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash

School has always been a love of mine. Going to school provided me a way to escape my everyday mundane, yet dramatic at the time, life as a child.

Yeah, I was an emotional kid.

I was the type of child who thought about everything and then thought about everything more, wrote poems to rid myself of teenage angst, and had thoughts of suicide when life seemed to be too much.

Through all of that, the school provided solace for me where I found none in my life and the library inside of my school was like my best non-human friend.

The smell of old books never got old to me and working in my school’s library was my first job as a teen.

That’s why the educational system of today truly pains me when I think about it.

There is rarely a conversation in politics (amongst friends) that doesn’t veer off into the student loan debt crisis. The amount of student debt is approximately $1.7 billion according to Lending Tree and it’s still rising.

Youth are still graduating from high school and applying to colleges and universities and they are gaining debt by the thousands when grants and scholarships aren’t an option, or they are an option but don’t cover all the costs of attending school.

I’ve watched as my school costs have risen throughout the years and it was frustrating. It’s also frustrating to work hard towards an educational goal and have to struggle to pay for it, while transfer students received free money to attend American schools.

It was very upsetting when my sister, an honor student, had trouble getting aid for university. She received scholarships and grants but was unable to cover the entire cost of her school.

I should also note that she went to school in the state so these weren’t out-of-state costs.

Years ago, I watched as my sister stressed overpaying for school and because I didn’t want her or my parents to worry over costs, I helped pay for her tuition.

To this day I don’t know how we got through those years but it still upsets me to think that a student like her and so many others are struggling just to get ahead in life.

Many students have to choose between going to school and piling on debt or not going to school and trying to work their way up the working ladder to success. There isn’t anything wrong with not going to college if that is your choice, but it is a problem when you are forced to give up on higher learning because you can’t afford it.

I’m wondering if graduate school is even worth the costs but at the same time, you really can’t progress in any fields unless you have a master's degree; and that’s at an entry-level position.

There’s an art college that costs fifty-thousand dollars each semester. The graduation rates aren’t amazing and the job prospects aren’t outstanding so I’m surprised by the costs. But the school is prominent in its field.

“How are kids supposed to contribute to the progression of society when they can’t even receive a proper education?”

This question doesn’t point to university prospects only, but kids in secondary and elementary schools. Americans go through levels of academics. We attend elementary, middle, and high school. Then, we move on to college or university.

I try to explain to kids struggling in school that each grade level builds on the last.

But what happens when your education system is so lacking much that kids aren’t getting those building blocks of education. The next grade level builds on what was learned previously, it's repetition or worse, not even connected.

What I learned in school isn’t the same stuff taught in schools today. I was surprised to learn kids don’t study handwriting. That’s not even a thing.

So we have kids applying to colleges when they can’t even write their names properly.

And this doesn’t apply to all kids because some students do receive a good lower-level education and are prepared for college-level work. However, a large population of students isn’t privy to this type of educational prep.

Kids are struggling to graduate high school and then they have to worry about how they are going to pay for college, so some kids choose not to go.

A brief conversation with the admissions counselor

I spoke with an admissions counselor a few days ago because I was perplexed as to why the MBA program only offered 3 “computer” courses even though it was a data-heavy specialization. She started off trying to justify that it was an MBA program therefore they focused more on the financial aspect of the business field.

But that doesn’t make sense if you're specializing in a specific field that isn't financing. She and I talked at length because you can call something a specialization and only offer 3 courses.

That just seems like a scam to be honest.

Finally, she confessed that she didn’t understand why the program was designed that way especially with all the technology used in businesses today. She revealed that she didn’t think that particular specialization was in the right program to begin with, to which I fully agreed.

But we were just two people discussing something that doesn’t make sense. But think about how many students would apply to that program believing they were going to get a deeper knowledge in that specific field, only to feel duped after acceptance.

You can argue that the students should do their research before spending thousands of dollars on attending that graduate program, but I assure you the research available to the public doesn’t reveal this to prospective students, which is why I called it a scam.

But this is just one example of students having to spend thousands of dollars to obtain a higher degree of learning only to feel as if they didn’t gain much. There are many levels of wrongness in America’s educational system and I don’t believe it’s going to fix any time soon.

America isn’t ready

Politicians mention education and citizens have lengthy discussions about it. Parents gripe about how the education system doesn’t work or does and students are just lost in all of it.

To start chipping away at the real issues within America’s educational system, we have to first be open to having real conversations and offering real solutions for the youth.

We aren’t there yet.

I don’t care how many politicians get on television and give speeches on how the children are our future. Yes, that’s true but the politicians could care less because it shows in the policies that are passed and not passed.

Providing kids with a good educational system (not opportunities because that can be distorted) would mean that we are producing valuable minds into society. Being educated and valued would make you less likely to do stupid things.

But then what would we do without all the stupid people to further divide our society?

We are supposed to be able to contribute back to our society in some kind of way. That’s why I don’t believe any job to be small or insignificant.

However, as a whole (American people) we don’t carry this philosophy.

We look at fast-food workers like they are the scum on the bottom of our shoes. Yet, we eat at these places and expect to be served by them.

We judge people solely on the color of their skin. Yet, none of us can choose the skin we’re born with. We aren’t Sims.

We judge people on whether or not they’ve attended college, regardless of how much the times have changed, we still do it. And yet, we haven’t found a solution to preparing all kids for higher learning and getting them there without financial worries.

One day I hope this isn’t an issue but for now, we can only hope more kids find ways to gain a good education and remain motivated to give back to society.

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I write and share my opinions about lifestyle and relationships.


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