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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Profs worth price tag

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“Back in my day, if you went to college it meant one thing: job security.” I think that by now in our (young) adult lives, we’ve all heard an expression along these same lines. To my mother’s generation an education meant limitless opportunities, it meant that you had somewhere to go after graduation. But our generation has been raised in what I believe to be a rather negative outlook. We’ve been told that an education in this dastardly economy means relatively nothing. One of my high school teachers (a teacher mind you) told me he would not send his fourteen year old son to college because it wasn’t worth the price. There was no guarantee of success afterwards.

But when in life do we do anything for a guarantee? We certainly don’t have to ability to predict the future. We cannot entirely control our own destinies, regardless of what Disney films teach us. I think that I, along with many other Carleton students, know what my major will be. I know what classes I want to take. I know what professors I’d like to take them with. But I have no idea on earth what I want to do with my life, so why would I want to be stuck in a job that was in a sense predetermined for me before I graduate? I’m positive that this sounds incredibly naïve, but at nineteen I think I can afford to be a little foolish.

When you ask me if I think Carleton, and not college in general, is worth it, I have mixed feelings. I didn’t love my freshman year. I’m not attached to this campus. We don’t have the beautiful buildings of other campuses or the most desirable dorms. We have some snafus with eduroam from time to time. Bottom line is that we are not a “rich” school as the $60K/yr. tuition would suggest. But there is one thing that I truly believe is worth Carleton’s ridiculous price tag. It’s not the people in general, as tour guides always exclaim to prospective students. It’s the professors. I truly think that I (my family really) pays for teaching. Besides my mom, I’ve never had adults actually listen to me like Carleton professors do. I never feel as though I’m a bother walking into their office with a rough, rough (when I say rough, I mean horrible) draft. They’ve encouraged me to keep up with things I never intended to carry on with. They’ve told me small lies (“Japanese is easy!”) to give me a sense of confidence. They’ve gotten me into travel programs where I can experience the world while not on campus. They’ve held dinners at their house and responded to my distressed emails quicker than lightening can travel. In a nutshell, I wouldn’t be going here if Carleton did not have the professors that they do.

I understand that everyone has their own reason as to why Carleton is worth the price. For some it’s their friends. Others it’s their sports teams or musical groups. And that is amazing. We spend different amounts of our time on various activities: some study more, some play more sports, some socialize until the wee hours of the morning. In this sense, we truly do get to pick how we spend the money we hand out year after year. When I was thinking about this sense of choice, a conversation with my friend popped into mind. On the first day of classes this year my friend said that I study too much. “It’s college, you’re supposed to have fun.” Let me preface this by saying I don’t think he takes anything in life seriously. But for that moment, I completely understood and partially agreed with what he said. College shouldn’t be all about studying. It should be about the relationships you form with everyone: from your friends to your professors. College is, after all, what we make of it. So spend your tuition, and more importantly, your time wisely.

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