Last week I did a response to David Wong’s 6 Reasons the System is Rigged (the name of which later got changed, but I’m sticking with the original one because bugger it all). Writing about my own personal thoughts and experience into the points on the list was so much fun that I decided to do another one for another Cracked.com article that caught my eye. This time Mr John Cheese writes about the post-secondary education situation in 5 Things Nobody Says About College (Until It’s Too Late). Every entry made me nod my head enthusiastically and cry a little for my own four years of wracking up debt, so of course I had to share with you. Be sure to check out the original article as well!
#5. The First Two Years of College Are a Repeat of High School
#4. You’ll Be Forced to Take Classes That Have Nothing to Do With Anything
#3. Failing Will Cost You Severely
It should come as no surprise that failing a college course – which you had to pay through the nose just to get into – will cost you to fail. You pay for the course before you’ve ever gone anywhere near the classroom, and that money becomes the college’s whether you pass the course or not. That’s the system, and we all know how it works.
But there’s more than just a monetary loss involved in such a failing.
Remember earlier when I mentioned that I chose to take two Calculus courses instead of four more basic math courses? I chose to do that because of the money I’d save and because I was always good at math so I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. Unfortunately the university that I attended has the market cornered on terrible Calculus professors. There were three to choose from, one of whom was out right off the bat because of the timing of his courses. Of the two who were left, one was lazy as hell and genuinely didn’t give a rat’s ass if a single person passed his course, and the other was an evil bastard who had tenure and used that sense of security to actively attempt to fail as many of his students as possible. I had the first prof. A friend of mine had the second.
My prof never explained anything anymore than he personally felt he needed to, and never answered questions. By the end of the first semester, almost exactly half of my classmates had flunked out of the course. By the end of the second semester I literally had an anxiety attack that found me in the emergency room of the nearby hospital. It was the night before the final exam and nothing made sense to me. I’d failed a ton of the course’s homework assignments and all I could think about (while I was trying so hard to study) was how if I didn’t make at least a 70% on this exam, I was going to flunk the course. I’d never flunked anything before in my life, so the disappointment was pretty bad. That alone didn’t cause the anxiety attack though; it was a combination of the disappointment, the fact that failure would mean I’d completely wasted $600, and the knowledge that if I did fail I would have to do the whole goddamn thing over again. When you fail a college course you don’t just pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and move on with your life. If you want to continue on with your chosen program you have to take the failed course all over again, which means paying for it again, as well as trying to figure out how to fit it into the schedule – because it might fit into year 2, but there’s no time slot available for it in year 3.
My friend with the devil professor experienced this several times over. He had gone into engineering, and because of the schedule of the courses the evil prof was his only option. He failed the course three times before finally managing to weasel his way into a different prof’s course. He spent $2400 on that one course, and had to deal with a hell of a lot stress in the process.
It’s no wonder that so many college students find themselves having a breakdown at some point.
#2. The New Friends You Make Will Be Temporary
I was never the kind of person who made friends really easily. I was shy and a little odd from other peoples’ viewpoints. That got a little easier when I started college because these were people who were interested in the same things as me, headed toward the same goal as I was. My classes were not huge ones, because the trades don’t attract enormous numbers around here, but the guys in my classes became quick friends. We were buddies, for sure. My husband – who was a year behind me when we attended the same college – had his own set of classroom friends, and I became friends with many of them as well. It was a great time. We spent a couple of good years partying with friends every weekend and just generally being more social than I had ever been in my life.
You know how many of those college friends we still keep in touch with? I have, like…six of them on Facebook. Know how many of them I’ve actually seen, face-to-face over the past year? Two. And only them because it so happened that they were out on the same job with me while I was out West.
The fact of the matter is that college is a stepping stone for most people. The majority of the people you go to college with will move away after graduation (or else return to where they came from, if they moved for college). You might keep in contact with some of them, since social media is such a basic concept of life these days, but chances are you’ll never actually see most of them ever again. It’s just one of those things. Sorry.
#1. College Isn’t the Booze-Fueled Orgy That Movies Depict
So now that I’ve shared my side of the experience, how about you guys? What was college like for you? Did you have to put up with courses full of material you already knew, or even worse, courses that were undeniably useless to you? Did you ever fail a course, and what did it cost you? Have you managed to hang on to any of your friends from college? And be honest…how much boozing and sexing did you really do? I wanna hear about it! Please share!