We at Boundless love to hear from college students so we can continue to make life easier for them. In the guest post below, we hear from Stephen Kennedy, a former college student of history and literature. Stephen now writes poetry and publishes it online. Read his reflection on some of the ups and downs of his college years:
College was probably one of the more complicated phases of my life, and I know I’m not the only one that feels that way. “Complicated” is an adjective that is generally perceived negatively, but that’s not really the right way to look at it. There were good things and bad things about my college experience.
One of the major good experiences was my professors.
There are always the horror stories about professors on campus, and chances are you’ll have a few bad experiences of your own – but by and large, these people are incredibly intelligent with a passion for their area of expertise. More than that, if you’re heading to college straight out of high school, these are the first educators that you’ll interact with as an adult. That sort of give-and-take relationship can eliminate many of the frustrations easily felt in high school classrooms over being told exactly what to learn, and never why you should learn it. That kind of relationship may be hard to build at a larger school or in lecture courses, but schedule appointments with your professors during office hours.
College is also full of financial frustrations.
There’s a sense of entitlement that you can develop when you sign your name to thousands of dollars in loans. You start to notice things like the sprinklers running when it rains. That’s money that could be spent on facilities or resources getting sprayed uselessly on grass that doesn’t need it. That’s potentially over watering and damaging the landscaping, which will cost even more money to repair.
Colleges aren’t perfect.
But again, these may well be the first institutions you’re interacting with as an adult. More than that, you are paying them money. Your college does care what you have to say about things, provided you’re constructive in your criticisms and follow the rules set out in your student handbook. You have every right to be frustrated with these things, and you have every right to bring them to the attention of someone, and if you utilize the right channels, you may make a change for the better.
One of the things that bothered me most throughout college was the outrageous amount of money I spent on textbooks.
My first semester freshman year I must have spent almost $500 on textbooks alone. I had a biology text I bought for almost $200, and at the end of the year I sold it back to the store for a total of $5. The more research I did into the subject, the more upset I got at the entire industry. I bought eight semesters worth of textbooks while I was at college. For perspective, that’s about the same as my room and board costs for an entire year. I bought only used textbooks, from sites like Amazon whenever I could. I could have spent much more than I did.
So when I heard about Boundless, completely by accident, I was understandably ecstatic. This is probably the coolest thing that’s happened in a while, and it’s one of best uses of internet resources I’ve ever seen. Education costs keep going up. It seems like there are charges for everything, every resource. I think this may be one of the first signs of those costs finally moving towards reasonable again. So I say: go Boundless, and see if you can work with your professors to see if they feel the same way.
Thanks, Stephen! Have some college advice you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Fill out our guest post form.