Reflecting on college: was it worth it?

Reflecting on college: was it worth it?

Reflecting on college: was it worth it?
May 05
02:49 2016

Sidney Johnson | Staff Writer

@Sidjohn87

The time is finally here. Years of financial uncertainty and sleepless nights are coming to an end, at least collegiately speaking. I’ve gained valuable knowledge in my time at University of North Texas that will give me a one-up in the rat race that ensues after graduation. What used to be a distant goal is now a tangible and sobering realization: I’m graduating college.

If I were to list things I’ve learned in my three years at UNT, time management would top the list. The late night parties were fun, and a great way to meet new people with similar interests – but I’ve found that often times those interests don’t extend beyond drinking and partying. Those nights of pong, punch and procrastination became cumbersome, a realization any responsible student eventually has. Waking up dizzy at 6:30 a.m. to write a 10-pager you’ve neglected while running on two hours of sleep is a miserable task. Deadlines don’t often bend, but your will to reach them must.

There are plenty of hardships that shadow the working student whose parents can’t afford the assistance offered to others. I empathize with the ramen noodle dieters, the fast food napkin thieves, the weekly plasma donors, the pawn receipt savers and whatever else many do to get by. Then to be thrust into peaking student loan debt, a rising cost of living and stagnant wages nationwide after graduation: cue the fight for $15. I certainly haven’t had it the worst, but I lived the beautiful struggle of college life in its entirety and am grateful for the experience, no matter the gray hairs I’ve acquired – literally.

Now the greater question: Is that $25,000 piece of paper worth four years of constant anxiety? Are those late nights studying or early morning crams justified once we grace the stage to the roars of our adorning family and friends? Some believe not, and I can’t say they’re wrong. There are plenty of well-paying professions without degree requirements: technicians, postmasters, web developers, etc. I chose the path of a journalism degree because my parents had their college careers cut short when I was born, so I felt compelled to succeed in my undergraduate education for them as much as myself. Every trial and error has lead me here – writing to you – and will hopefully push me much further. The competitive job market is scary, but so was the big-bad university after graduating high school, and that turned out pretty good in this case.

Mama, your son made it through – just like I promised.

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