Higher Education

This is going to turn into a rant. I have no doubt about it. I’ve been winding up for a couple of weeks, so seriously … if you don’t want to read about my melt down over the American college system, you should just walk away now.

You see, my son, Little Boy Blue, is in college. He has a cousin in college.

The first thing that is pissing me off is that they both going to a STATE university. It’s not private. It’s the university every kid in the state should be able to afford. Yet both of them work fulltime during the summer and part-time during the school year and still … they can’t afford to pay outright for school. Both of them take out loans every semester to pay for college. (My oldest daughter went to a different state college, but worked as an RA for two years AND had a major that got her in-state tuition and after 4 years, her loan payment would cover the mortgage payment for a small house.) There’s something VERY wrong with this picture.

Not only do both of these kids fork out a tremendous amouunt of money, but both of them are struggling. First I want to share my neice’s story: She went into college thinking she’d like to go into nursing. A third of the way into her freshman year she began having medical issues. She couldn’t eat. Still can’t. Doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong. (Three years later.) She’s missed a lot of school due to doctor’s appointments and sick days. A year ago, she decided to change her major. But you know what? Her grades don’t meet the minimum requirements for the major she’d like to transfer into. (Education) Because of that she isn’t allowed to take certain classes because they don’t fit the “nursing” major she declared when she first entered the university. Are. You. Kidding. Me?

She could have declared an education major as a freshman and despite her grades, would have continued in that major and been able to take all the classes she needed, even if, due to medical reasons, her GPA was low.

Now … Little Boy Blue. He’s majoring in engineering. Because he’s a foolish boy, he basically lost his freshman year to a girl. (Whatever … what do parents know when it comes to college advice?) He realized he was in trouble midway through his third semester. His study habits were poor and he had to retake several classes over again to learn the information he didn’t get the first time around. No problem. That’s his fault. But Mr. Nina and I have convinced him he needs to look into tutors and speak with his professors about confusing lessons and speak to his advisor. But you know what? He’s tried. But nothing. Professors don’t keep their appointments and those that do, don’t “teach” students who don’t understand their lessons. And guess what? The university doesn’t offer tutors for upper level classes. My son has no learning disabilities, he’s quite capable of doing the work in the engineering program. I think he just needs someone to point him in the right direction. But no one seems to want to help. Now he’s looking at LEAST taking an extra semester if not TWO! (Think of the money.)

PLEASE don’t misunderstand. I am not trying to make excuses for these two kids. What is upsetting me is that they’ve screwed up and they’re trying to rectify that situation and NO ONE WILL HELP THEM. Both of their advisors are saying “sucks to be you … have a nice day”. WTH?? They’re trying to get through college. They’re paying BIG bucks to get an education. They’re looking for help and not getting it. Where the hell does the buck stop? Who’s supposed to help these students?

When Mr. Nina and I went to college there were many people available to us who helped with both financial and educational issues. These two kids are in their third year in college. One of life’s skills is figuring out how to help yourself through difficult times. But when you go to the first level of help … shouldn’t they help? I’m working really hard not to step into this whole thing. I REALLY want to go over the advisor’s head to the department chair and scream “HELP!” Shouldn’t someone give a sh!t about these kids? But who?

I don’t know. Maybe I’m way out in left field on this one. But I’m so darn frustrated about this issue. Have any of you run into this same issue? Do you have an advice for a mom who’s ready to come unglued all over the university system?

Connect