Everyone should have the chance to go to college

Alexandra - Livingston, New Jersey
Entered on September 1, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe that everyone should have the chance to go to college.

I am the product of an extremely supportive family. From the moment I was born my parents have embodied this obsession of making sure that everything was perfect in order to guarantee the successes of parenthood and in turn allowing me to become a model citizen. I am proud of this and I thank god everyday how lucky I am to have been raised in this way.

I have always considered my parents to be overprotective and neurotic, and you know what, they would be the first people to admit that they are. Don’t get me wrong; I was not placed in a protective bubble so that my mommy could shield me. However I was that kid at the roller skating ring who had to wear a helmet and all of the protective padding while everyone else just had to wear wrist guards. I was just watched after like a hawk and smothered with unconditional love. The same can be said for my crazy and hysterically funny younger sister, born two years and four months after myself. The two of us grew up in the suburban town of Livingston, New Jersey and exposed to a life of what I consider to be privileged. My parents always provided everything and anything I never needed but always instilled ideals of working hard, being that they were both involved in busy careers of their own. Therefore, college was always in my horizon. Every living member of my family is a college graduate, so applying and attending a well-known University was something I always strived for. Not to mention, 96 percent of graduates from my high school attend college post graduation. Being exposed to these values from a early age made me realize how truly important an education is whether it be an elite private school such as Syracuse University or a small public community college. Being a college student has the ability to teach teenage generations so many valuable life lessons.

The number one most important lesson that college can teach is independence. As I stated before, I was a very overprotected child where a lot was provided to me from my parents. The second my parents drove away from Day hall on the mount, I was free. From that moment on, my fate was put in my own hands. I was able to choose what classes I wanted to take and what field I wanted to study. I chose where I wanted to eat meals at whatever time I wanted with whomever I chose to eat with. I didn’t have a curfew at night. If I wanted to walk down to Marshall Street and shop or take a bus to the mall at any given time, I could do it. I didn’t have my mother screaming at me to take a sweatshirt because it was cold out. My decisions were at my own will. At first this was a very scary concept, but soon it became very natural to me. College has allowed me to adapt to being on my own and taking care of myself, and doing a very good job of it. I feel like this is a common trend throughout first time college students.

College also has the ability to enhance ones social network. As a freshman you are thrown into a chaotic jumble of change. You have to leave your family, friends, and comforts, and build new bonds and relationships. However, college is the best place to start over. Students can build a new identity. They can become the person that they always wanted to be, without being judged or criticized for it. Universities offer tools to help students with this transition. You can live in a learning community, join an intramural sports team, pledge a sorority or a fraternity, etc. There are such broad ranges of things students are able to do and there are few restrictions.

Most importantly, a college experience prepares you for the real world. Taking classes and concentrating on a major and a minor allows students to focus on a particular interest. After four years of classes, students have a better idea of what they want to do when they graduate and what type of profession they will undertake. Universities provide so many resources to aid students in these decisions. They hold career fairs, they provide contacts and leads to students in order obtain internships, and advisors are always available to speak to for advice. Most importantly, having college degree opens the door to many prestigious jobs.

Personally, as a senior at SU, college has done so much for me. I am a retail management major, which is a great program Whitman has to offer. Because of this program, I have a great idea of what I want to do after I graduate, and a great background in the field. I joined a sorority called Sigma Delta Tau where I found my best friends in the whole world. In fact, my relationships with my friends at school are like none I have ever had. They are my surrogate family when I am away from home. With my friends I am able to relax and have fun and be comfortable with myself as a person. I was also able to spend a semester abroad in Barcelona, Spain. This was an amazing four-month journey that I would have never been able to have the opportunity to do without my college education. My enthusiasm towards college even rubbed off on my younger sister who is now a freshman here at SU.

I never want to graduate college. If it were acceptable, I would be like Van Wilder and spend seven years at Syracuse. However, I know that graduation is in my somewhat near future, and I know that whatever my future brings after that faithful day will bring nothing but good things. I owe it all to having a college experience.

All in all, I know that college is a privilege. Not everybody has the financial means or opportunities to be able to attend a university. However, if one day every high school graduate could somehow have to chance to go to college, teenage generations would have a better chance of becoming model citizens and successful in their own lives and in turn, benefit society as a whole. That is why I believe that everybody should have the chance to go to college.