Too Many People Are In College

Sophia Maltese, Managing Editor

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As a lover of learning and someone who believes that everyone should find pleasure in knowledge, it is difficult for me to accept the fact that not all students appreciate the privelege of a college education.

I have often observed students in my classes who repeatedly do not attend, engage with the material or act in a respectful manner. If you are not in college to go to class, what are you here for?

These types of students — the ones that sit in the back with their hoods up and AirPods in or glued to their phones — are not here because they enjoy the material or because they are passionate about what they’re studying.

They are in college because they think they need to be. There are some people who are in college even though they hate it.

Too often, people apply for college because it’s the natural next step or because they would be looked down upon by their peers if they were not pursuing higher education.

These reasons are inadequate for attending a university that seeks to foster intellectual curiosity and growth. Ultimately, students who do not care hinder the education of others and create a learning environment in which no one is engaged.

How often have you sat in a class that you genuinely cared about and felt like you answered every question? How many times has the room gone silent when the professor posed a perfectly reasonable topic for discussion?

Through the Honors Program, I’ve attended classes with students who love the material, who are interested in discussion and who work hard in their coursework. These, by far, have been the most rewarding classes I have taken.

Now, I say this obviously from my frame of reference, which has been shaped by my frustration in class. However, the general lack of engagement I’ve observed may be the product of a larger societal trend that indicates a massive problem with higher education.

According to Statista, there will be 19,910,000 students in American universities by the end of 2019. According to the 2010 U.S. Census report, there are approximately 30,672,000 people aged 18-24 in the United States.

This demonstrates that nearly two-thirds of all college-aged students are attending a university, and I find it highly unlikely that two-thirds of the country’s 18- to 24-year-olds feel like college is the right place for them.

Not only do many students not want to be in college, but many can’t afford to be in college. According to Forbes.com, the student loan “crisis” is worse than ever, as students collectively owe $1.5 trillion in debt. Individually, the average student owes roughly $30,000.

I cannot understand why students put themselves in terrible financial situations if they are not interested in the education they are receiving. It’s safe to say the education isn’t effective either, since people continue to make the same poor financial decisions.

There are other ways to have a fruitful career. A degree doesn’t determine your success. On the contrary, it hinders success if you don’t care about your coursework and accumulate tens of thousands in debt for a career that you don’t enjoy.

College is where we learn to speak the language of the world; it is where we discover our passions and put those sentiments into action.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not a rest-stop on your way to adulthood. Make your time here worth it.