As “The Graduation March” lingers in the background, I am surrounded by my peers, and tearful parents, especially my own. It is Sunday, May 21. The weather is gorgeous. Birds are singing in tune. The sun is shining. It is graduation day, the long-anticipated event in which I have been preparing for my whole life. I walk up to receive my diploma, and instead of being greeted with that important piece of paper, I am greeted with a piece of paper that says, “Congratulations! You are now $40,000 in debt! Good luck with that.”
This is a reoccurring nightmare for many college students, especially for me. I dread graduation day because I know that before I even get a chance to make some money and get ahead of the game, I will be so deep in debt that it will take me years to be profiting from my college education.
There was never a question of me going to college in the first place. I began Cabrini my sophomore year. I fell in love with Cabrini instantaneously and my parents did as well. Our only problem was money. My parents have struggled to pay to send my brother and me to Catholic School since first grade. Sending me to a private Catholic college wasn’t going to be any small fee either. Unfortunately, I don’t excel in any sport, I am not a brain, and my parents are young so “they have time to pay off the loans.” In other words, I am just an average student which equals out to get very little aid. The next step is to take out loans. The thing that gets me is that I have had to take out loans for so much money because the tuition is so high in the first place.
My parents have sacrificed so much for me to attend Cabrini. Those little “extras” that they, as 40-year-olds, should be getting are nothing but a figment of their imagination. My parents, too, take out loans of their own so that I won’t have a hold on my account so that I can register for classes or even view my transcripts.
I feel that my debt after graduation will be so deep that I fear that I won’t be able to have the life I want in the future. Will I be able to support myself? What about money for my someday dream wedding? How about that nice big house I always wanted? Will I even have a job to pay for all this? It’s enough angst to make anyone’s head spin out of control, let alone my own.
So for four years I am sitting pretty with no debt. Right? Wrong. I guess our administration, or whoever it is who decides how much tuition will be raised from year to year, doesn’t think about their average Cabrini college student that occupies this school. I am an average Cabrini College student, so I will break it down for you. I have a full work load, that means 15 credits. I am a news editor for this very newspaper. I am a member of the dance team. I work two jobs that barely pay for my car payment and cell phone bill. Hey, but then there is my social life. Wait, social life? Wrong again. I already feel like I am suffocating. It can’t get any worse. Woops, 0-3.
Now I am supposed to pull an extra $80 from god knows where for a parking permit because all of a sudden, public safety is going to start ticketing cars without stickers in the Dixon Center parking lot. Some people may not see this as a big deal, because maybe they have that money to spare. I don’t have that to spare. I am also not going to ask my parent to buy me a permit for obvious reasons. Actual tickets are ridiculouly priced as well. Here’s a question: If I didn’t have the money to pay for a permit in the first place, what makes you think I will have the money to pay my ticket? I am constantly terrified I will walk to my car at Dixon Wednesday or Friday mornings to go to work and my car will be gone because it was towed away.
Then there is housing fines from idiots, yes idiots that do not know how to control themselves while intoxicated, that they feel the need to take on the role of the Hulk and destruct everything in its path. Flex money vanishes mid-semester because Jazzman’s charges $5 for a sandwich meal exchange never covers the full cost. All these money worries, is that any way to enjoy your college experience? I think not; I know not. And that’s a right answer.
I know I may never see a solution to the debt problems I face presently at Cabrini College. I also know that I will have bigger and tougher problems with money as of May 21, 2006 around noon. I guess I am looking for an answer as to where our money really goes. Why are things so expensive at Cabrini? Where is my tuition money going? How can the administration sleep at night knowing that the products they are unleashing to the world are starting from behind? I’m not getting a head start from having a college education, I am drowning. Instead of looking at my future as being bright, I look at it with fright.
Posted to the web by Brandon Edwards