Should Education Be Free?

I’ll preface this post with the following: I’m not looking for a debate in the comment section, or for people to tell me why we have to pay for education; I’ve already read the articles supporting that position. I understand that side of the coin. I respect it. I’m just offering up the perspective from the other side of the coin.

Elementary school was free. High school was free. Then, all of a sudden, education put up a door. And the only way to get through said door was to buy a Skeleton Key for 10 coins at the item shop. Oh, sorry, that’s Mario Party 2. But the analogy is the same.

You apply to a post-secondary school and they accept you. Great, you’re in! Oh wait, they only want you if you pay them. Otherwise, go away. You’re replaceable.

People go to school to get a degree that they can put on their resume, so when they apply to jobs, employers can nod their head in agreement that you have the background required to fill a position in their organization. Am I wrong?

And getting a job will provide you with money.

However, you won’t get that money..if you can’t get the job..because you don’t have a degree..because you couldn’t pay for school..because you didn’t have the money..that you would get from a job..that you weren’t deemed qualified for in the first place.

You follow?

It’s a Bermuda triangle that turns into a Bermuda square.

Money -> Education -> Job -> Money

The end game is money in your bank account. The beginning is also money in your bank account (or lack thereof).

A high school diploma doesn’t count for much these days. If students who graduate high school can’t afford to move on to College, then what? The system says, because they don’t have enough money, they cannot receive a higher education. Or they can go into debt and go through the next 5 years worrying about how to pay back money they didn’t have in the first place.

Stop me if I’m wrong.

Once you graduate from a post-secondary school, look back and ask yourself what exactly you paid all that money for. What did you get outside of a great experience?

You got debt.

You got a diploma.

You got black ink on white paper (your resume).

You got sleep to catch up on.

You got “the necessary skills required in order to succeed in a competitive workplace.”

See, in the moment, school work felt normal. Alright, I have to take 4 electives and the rest are my major courses. Fine, let me find some bird courses. BIRD COURSES. School should not be about finding classes that are easy or searching for hours through an undergraduate calendar until you find something that kinda, sorta, interests you.

Shouldn’t we just focus on our major? I thought high school was about “broadening our horizons” so we could focus on one specific thing at the next level of education. Guess not. I guess we never stop “broadening our horizons.”

That’s another thing. At the age of 17 (some, 18), we are faced with our toughest decision in life (up to that point). We decide which path we want to follow that sets up the rest of our life. Pick a school, pick a program, spend the money, and go forth and prosper…or something like that.

Aren’t we a little young to map out our future at that age? I don’t know what the alternative is, I just think it’s a bit young.

What if I went to University and didn’t like my program after one year? What if it took me two years to realize I didn’t like the path I was walking down? Then what? Do I just switch to something else? Probably. But then I just wasted two years of my life. More importantly, I wasted thousands of dollars on a degree that I will never finish.

That didn’t happen to me, but it will happen to many individuals.

I spent money on textbooks and 8 months a year inside lecture halls, which was really 6 months because December and April were devoted to final exams.

So 6 months. Divide that in 2 and you have 3 months each semester. 12 weeks. After 4 or 5 weeks we wrote midterms. Great. I just have to memorize 5 weeks-worth of notes and regurgitate it on a piece of paper. I just have to memorize lists. I just have to know how to draw that diagram on page 75. I just have to stay up all night and walk into the exam room with a yawn on my face. Good morning to you too.

Then you write the exam and leave the room and never have to remember the information again. Sure, you’ll remember the gist of it, but lists? Diagrams? Probably not. And yet when you’re in the moment, it’s the most important thing in the world. “Oh I better not screw this up or it hurts my average for the course and my overall average.”

It was always a numbers game. The first day of every class was spent looking through the syllabus to see how many assignments were ahead and how much they were worth.

And now that I’ve graduated, I look back and realize how ridiculous that really was. Are employers really going to care if you got an 85%, or a 65%, in your elective class all the way back in second year? No. I’m not saying YOU shouldn’t care. It’s good to do well. But is it the end of the world if all of your studying didn’t produce a high mark? No.

Once you finish school, all the money you spent only accounts for one thing. Your degree. Not your marks. Not your memorization skills. Not anything else. Heck, you may not even have any people skills, but at least you got your degree. And your degree means that you are qualified – whether you think you are, or not.

And you had to pay for it. You had to pay to prove yourself. You had to pay to learn.

You had to pay for not sleeping for four years. You had to pay for textbooks that were a “new edition” because one page of new information was added. You had to pay for worrying about exams. You signed up for this. You paid money for this. Money.

You had to pay money to work hard, just so you can get a job that pays you to work hard.

Doesn’t this sound a bit silly?

Having said all that…

I understand why students have to pay for a higher education. I understand where the money is allotted. I understand that if you made school free for everyone, then a Bachelor’s degree would lose it’s worth. The arguments against free education are extremely valid.

I don’t think the system will ever change. Tuition costs will always be there and continue to rise.

I just think it would be great if school were free for everyone.

That’s all.


About Paul

This is the part where I'm supposed to write something interesting about myself and you'll read it and think, "That's not that interesting." So let's not do that and just think about pizza instead, on the count of three. One, two, three. Donuts. Now, wasn't that interesting?
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2 Responses to Should Education Be Free?

  1. What if I said I highly agree and tell you that the entire time in my head I was chanting “YEAH!” As if you are giving a grand speech and I was in the audience lol 🙂
    I’m mental


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