The financial burden of college from a senior’s perspective


Lexie Bordenkecher, editor

College should be an exciting thing right? At least for me it always has been.

I loved the idea of essentially starting over — new friends, new room decorations, and new activities. When I was younger, I had big dreams of going to Stanford, or Yale, or Cornell. I have always done well in school. I got straight A’s all throughout elementary school and middle school, so of course I thought I would go to one of those schools.

Even at the beginning of high school, I still wanted to go to a private school. But unfortunately, as I’ve grown older, I’ve seen those dreams begin to slip away. I miss the days when I was young and naive. Not understanding the fact that if I was going to go to the school I wanted to go to, I would end up being $100,000 in debt.

Some people might not worry about those things, including a lot of my friends. They get to go to the schools they want to go to because they don’t have to worry about “the money thing”.  And that’s great for them. I’m happy that my friends will have the opportunity to have the college experience that they’ve long desired. However, the selfish part of me can’t help but wonder, “what about me?”. 

It’s not that I’m going to go to a bad school, not at all. I know that in five years I’ll reread this and think, “wow she was dramatic”. But it’s just the idea that this experience that I’ve looked forward to for so long might not be the one my eight year old self imagined.

It almost makes me feel that all the hard work I’ve put into the last 13 years of my life have been for nothing. I’ve done everything I’ve ever been told to do. I’ve gotten great grades, I’ve been involved in my community, I’ve been active in extracurricular activities, but what has it been for? I still can’t go to the college I want to go to because it’s too expensive. I’ve always been told that if you work hard enough, you’ll get to where you want to go. But all of a sudden, that doesn’t seem so true. 

I mean, a $25,000 academic scholarship sounds amazing. Thank you for that, I appreciate it, I really do. But unfortunately, it’s not enough. I simply can’t afford to go to your school where I’d have to pay another $25,000 every year. I just can’t.

I’ve had people tell me, “you only go to college once, go where you want”, but I just can’t voluntarily put myself into that kind of debt. I don’t anticipate being in a particularly high paying career either, so I would rather just play it safe. And yeah, to put it frankly, that sucks. It sucks that I’ve put in so much work and won’t be able to fulfill my eight year old self’s dreams. But that’s just how it is. And I know that I’m lucky. I still have the opportunity to go to college and get a great education, something that a lot of people can’t do. 

So college should be exciting right? But, at least right now, it’s hard for me to be excited about it. In a year, or maybe even six months from now, I know it’ll all be fine and I’ll feel all the feelings that I did when I was younger. However, right now it’s just hard for me to imagine that.