overwhelmingly helpless and dependent, just the way the gov’t likes us…

… “Up to 30 people were pepper-sprayed by police after students tried to storm a Santa Monica College trustee board meeting in protest over proposed higher course fees.”

The students were chanting, “No cuts, no fees, education should be free”.

Education should be free.

Free, because teachers don’t deserve a salary. Free, because it doesn’t cost a dime to maintain the school’s infrastructure and facilities. Yes, free. Free to make getting a college education has commonplace – read worthless – as having a high school diploma.

There used to be this notion, called the American Dream, where “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement“. The idea was that you can attain for yourself upward social mobility, regardless of social class or birth, through hard work.

Ah, work.

I worked in high school to save for college. After 2 years that money ran out and guess what, I got another job. I took all the required courses for my degree at a local community college and transferred the credits to save money. When I went back to college and studied nursing, 15 years later, I paid for everything myself as well. Again, I worked.

College is expensive. Expensive as hell. No one is doubting that. But to say you can’t go to college, in this day and age, because you’re poor is absurd. If you maintain your GPA in high school and get a part time job you can easily afford a local community college. From there, with good grades, you can apply for the endless grants and scholarships that exist. But you have to maintain your grades, which requires study and effort. You also have to save money and not blow it all on PBR and beard wax. It’s hard, I know.

What is this work, of which you speak?

If you are an average student of average intelligence do not expect people to throw money at your feet to get a “free” education. If you do not want to work don’t expect the rest of us who do to feel pity for you. And lastly, there is no right to riot in the Constitution. If you chose to storm a board meeting than don’t be surprised if you are met with unwelcome resistance.

Chanel that disgruntled rage on your resume. Use that boundless energy to pound the pavement and find a job. Stop expecting everything to be handed to you. You have a right to this, that, or the other. No, actually you don’t. You have a right to attain upward social mobility, yes, through hard work and actual achievement.

And if you still can’t manage college what is so gosh darn terrible about finding a job and entry level position and working your way up the ladder? That is what the American Dream was about, advancing through your own efforts. An 18 year old store clerk could, through hard work and job experience, be promoted to store manager then to district manager. There is nothing degrading about starting from the bottom. Some of the best bosses I’ve ever worked for started out this way. What made them great was the hands-on knowledge they learned from each job level as they progressed forward.

All these gov’t hand outs have made people expectant and perfectly helpless to care for themselves. Ambition, drive, and ingenuity is being bred out of our youths. People come to the work force with nothing to offer except unrealistic expectations to be made CEO because they have a right to something.

Maybe it’s just a simple matter of confusion. The words ‘right’ and ‘want’ or not synonymous. You may want a house but do not have a right to a house. To get a house you need to have saved a deposit and have a decent credit score to be approved for a home loan. If you do not make the effort to save the money or build credit than you get no house. The government, or anyone else for that matter, does not owe you a house simply because you want one.

You may want a college education but you do not have a right to one; unless you are willing to put in the time and energy to attain one.

I’m not sure why people are so quick to become indebted to the government. The only thing I can think of is pure laziness and the complete inability to provide for themselves. The latter is how government institutions like their citizens, it helps them maintain power. When Americans can do for themselves, provide for themselves and figure out clever ways around life’s obstacles they clearly no longer need the government and her politicians to play nanny.

I suppose if Big Government was giving me housing vouchers, food stamps, medicaid, childcare vouchers, Obamacare and free birth control – and I became wholly dependent on these items to live – I would be afraid to lose them and vote for whatever politician told me they were going to fight to keep my subsidies in place.

And lastly… free education. You get what you pay for.

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  • mlenz9

    There’s a scientific term for this; it’s found in biology.

    Neoteny (http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/neoteny)

  • Caffeinatedcatholicmama

    Thank you for this! I live in CA. There is a group of high schoolers who would like to put on the ballot that college education should be free provided you maintain a 2.7 GPA or volunteer 70 hrs per year. And who would pay for this? Increase the income tax on those making $250K/ year. Because you know, they went to college for free…

    As far as the rioting, the a student rep claims they were being denied access to the open-forum board meeting, but that does not justify rioting.

    • A 2.7 GPA. The bright minds of the future. :/

      • Ink

        A 2.7 isn’t hard to maintain.  I’m siding with Kat here.

        A first-year architecture student struggling for the first time in her academic career

  • Katie O’Keefe

    Love it, love it, love it!  When I graduate in June I will have taken 25 years to get my college education.  And, yes, it was damned hard work.  I *earned* that little bitty Associates Degree.  Every. Last. Credit.

  • I had a similar college education and even worked my way through a Masters Degree/Internship.  I only wish I had returned to school in my early thirties like you did to get a degree in Nursing.

    I will say I agree with everything you pointed out in your posting.

    But I’d like to add an eyeopening experience I had last summer: 

    I had to take my youngest to the local University last summer for a special reading program. 

    I became very aware that even Public Universities are clueless to how the rest of the world opperates.  For instance I had to pay for my parking with either a Visa or Mastercard.    I don’t have the energy to go on, but I started to see the contempt the University had for students in other ways.  And it’s outrageous raising of fees in addition to tuition.  I can see why students are outraged.   But, there is a ridiculous pandering to students with promises of “free or forgiven loans'”.

  • Oy Vey! Pardon if this sounds like a rant…but I’ve had it with these kids! Enough with this sense of entitlement already!

    My parents were immigrants that came to this country with little more than the clothes on their backs and a suitcase in their hands. They worked their bums off their entire lives and taught my sisters and me the value of hard work and the value of a dollar. Even with quite a few crippling medical bills and no insurance, my parents were still able to manage by cutting corners and living with the things we NEEDED versus the things we WANTED. 

    My sisters and I worked our bums off through high school and stayed in state for college because it was cheaper than the bigger, out-of-state schools. Also, the smaller state school gave us a full ride.  I knew people that refused to settle for a smaller school or wanted to go out of state to stay away from their parents….and then wondered how they’d ever pay off the hundreds of thousands dollars 4 years later.  I even knew kids who used to used to use their excess loan money for shopping trips every semester! Didn’t they realize that they’d have to repay all of that money plus interest as soon as they were done with school? 
    I maintained the highest GPA I could working 2-3 jobs at any given time in college, putting school before my social life and ended up getting a full ride for a masters program. Most of the time, when people asked me if I was free to go out, I’d respond with an “I’m on duty” or an “I need to study” or even an “I got to work at 4am.” Yes, I even  worked a job that required me to work at least 2 overnight shifts a week. I did research, went to class, and taught science throughout my masters program…and somehow got a full ride to a number of big schools for a PhD. AND EVERYONE WONDERS WHY PEOPLE LIKE ME REFUSED TO SUPPORT THIS OCCUPY WALL STREET RUBBISH?!?! Come on… regardless of what people like the students in this story think, there are many opportunities out there if you are willing to work and put in enough sacrifice. I’ve gotten into arguments with people over this, but I cannot see how giving away college degrees will get us anywhere. I saw the difference in work ethic between the peers whose parents were paying for college and the peers who were paying for their own degrees. Needless to say, the people with the most on the line were the people who made something of themselves once they got a degree. The ones who had everything handed to them or the ones who made the mistake of choosing the wrong major (by putting the major they liked best before the major that would give them a job) are the ones who later joined the “Occupy” movement.

  • Mitchell Palmquist

    The student riots in CA aside. St. Ignatius of Loyola maintained that all Jesuit colleges should be fully endowed and therefore free to attend. If one was smart enough and will to work hard enough then one ought to be able to attend college without concern for cost. Its only in the last 100 to 150 years that any Jesuit colleges started charging for tuition, and really only in the last 50 years have they charged more than nominal fees. The ancient and medieval saying was that study required leisure. If one is constantly working then one has a very hard time keeping up and thinking originally. I’m in grad school now and have worked every year I’ve been in college from sophomore year on, its been a struggle, the semesters when I’ve had to work more hours my grades slipt (there are only so many hours in a day). It would be better if I did not need to work, and hopefully that will soon be the case so I can write my thesis in one semester.

  • Tim

    I don’t think these kids want “free education”, but rather “free diplomas”.  There was a time that a diploma reflected the quality of one’s education.  

    Now, I’m not so sure what a diploma represents. 

  • Maggie

    I just printed out your blog entry and am having my teenagers read it.  Heck, I may even have them write an essay.

  • Matt_heffron

    Anyone who wants the federal government to pay for their college, there’s a way to make that happen. It’s called the GI Bill.
    Of course, too many American youth are in too poor of physical condition to even enter the military, and once they got in, there’s that whole work thing again.

  • GradStudent

    I do agree that students should not expect college to be free.  That’s silly.  But some who are protesting increases in tuition and fees do have a point: college genuinely is more difficult to pay for than it used to be. College is far more expensive than it was in the past, not just in dollars but in proportion to other things that we pay for.  Between 1982-2005, college tuition and fees went up 375%. Compare that to medical care, that went up 223%, and food, clothing, housing, transportation, and energy, that all went up between 30-140%.  That’s a huge difference. It really is harder to pay for college than it used to be.
    Also, in this job market, “get a job” is easier said than done.  I’m a graduate student working on my dissertation.  The job market in my field has tanked since I started college ten years ago. I have no guarantee that I will get a job in my field once I finish my degree.  And with a PhD, I’ll be considered overqualified for a lot of other jobs.  I’ve been rejected for more menial types of jobs several times, and I suspect it’s because I have a Master’s degree–they probably think I’ll expect too much money, or be unwilling to work hard, or that I don’t have a job in my field already because I’m totally incompetent (none of which are true, but they never tell me why I’m rejected).   I’m under qualified for a job in my field, and apparently overqualified for anything else.  So I’m self-employed as a private tutor, and I don’t make much.  Luckily I have no student loans and my husband’s job more or less pays the bills.  If I weren’t married, or had loans from my undergrad degree (my parents paid what my scholarships didn’t), I’m not sure what I would do.  Move back in with my folks, I guess.