In our lives, our futures often seem pre-determined. When you turn sixteen, you get your license. After you graduate high school, you go on to college. For a lot of us, going to college isn’t even really a choice, and the fact that there are other things to do after high school seems unfathomable. Because we have been raised in a privileged, middle-class society where going to college is the norm, we feel entitled to an education. However, this self-entitlement affects the way we view and treat college. We believe we deserve a college education and believe in its importance, but we don’t see the full picture.
Because of this feeling of self-entitlement, a lot of kids forget what college actually is- a place of higher education. Instead, we view college as an escape from our homes, or the gateway to adulthood, or simply a place to party. Who thinks about the classes they’re going to take, or the professors they’re going to have? If someone is planning to dedicate four years of their life to college, they should actually want to learn. Just about everybody is more concerned about the people they’re going to meet, finding their soul mate in college, dorms, and meal plans. This can be seen in the fact that 68 % of Americans attend college after high school, but only 59 % of those actually graduate college within 6 years.
While our feeling of self-entitlement makes us less appreciative of college, it has also never been more important in our lives than it is in this era. In a survey from 2010, 75% of Americans regard college as important, as opposed to 36% in 1978. Gone are the days where people who never went to college could become president. Now, it seems as if the only way to guarantee yourself a future not in the fast food industry is through college, unless you’re Bill Gates. First of all, that’s not necessarily true, and second, it causes an unhealthy obsession over colleges. Ranking colleges causes feelings of superiority and inferiority, when in fact the rankings don’t really count for anything. While it is a common assumption that the UCs are better than the CSUs, that was not always the case. UCs were created with the purpose of research, while the CSUs had the purpose of teaching. Because of the CSUs lack of research, some don’t view the state universities as being on the same level as the UCs. I don’t believe this is true, as it depends on the student- some can gain more from an UC, while others can gain more from a CSU. Both systems of education are great, and it’s silly that someone attending SDSU is not seen as smart as someone attending UCSD. Going to a good college doesn’t guarantee success, and what’s more important is having motivation and making the most out of college.
In the past, college was only for the elite. Since it is open to just about anybody now, it has lost its exclusiveness and uniqueness, and our perception of college is totally different from our parents’. Our generation has a sense of entitlement to college, and we have lost focus of the purpose of college and what constitutes a college’s reputation.