#Occupy School

From Getting to the Roots Issue Two

More Money, More Problems, More School, More Debt

By K. Fed

From a young age we are told that the only way to become something in this world is by getting a “real education” i.e. going to university or college. For many, this period comes when we begin to question the very nature of our society, yet we are thrown full force into the realm of post-secondary prisons, locked in a perpetual wheel of due dates, exams, debt and headaches

In school, many of us have to take boring classes because they are required, study hours of useless information, only to forget it after the exam. Why do we waste our time? Is it to teach us discipline, study skills and a good work ethic, or to keep us exhausted and stuck in the cycle of study – drink – repeat

We are taught that going to university is the only way to make a decent wage, to participate and be an active member of society. Beyond the bonuses of taxes, tuition debt and long work weeks, what has university given us – a diploma and a faint prospect of a reputable job?

We have all heard that tuition rates keep going up, that an undergraduate, even a master ’s degree can’t get us a proper job. Every year students are graduating with no job prospects and are forced to work minimum wage jobs to pay back their loans. Every year more and more first year students enter the university system.

We are told by the administration that student tuition rates must go up to meet costs and deliver quality education; yet has the quality of our education really kept up with these necessary costs? Ontario has the worst student to teacher ratio in the country; huge class sizes, frequent disruptions and a serious lack of one on one time with our professors.

This is not an welcoming environment for engaging with your education.

When exam time strolls around we push our bodies to the limit, staying up on coffee and Adderall – scanning information bases for publications and ideas we can steal, (as long as we site our sources.) Relying more on the words that have been written by other people instead of our own ideas is effectively selling ourselves short. Yet we justify this by reaffirming that we are the elite, we are university students- we deserve to be here, because we work hard- if that doesn’t work, well than there’s always the excuse – everyone else is doing it.

What is your goal in your education? To become a unique individual; or to just fall in line, to compete, to fight for a spot among the best and the brightest. Shouldn’t you demand to learn about things that really interest you instead of being subjected to useless assignments and trivial statistics? After all your paying to be here.

If we are stuck working minimum wage jobs before, during and even after university, all just to pay off our debt is there really an added benefit to “higher education”? With debt, stress, alienation and blind obedience. Is university really a stepping stone or is it a mere reflection of a broken and passive system.

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