Scourge and Transparency

The Rise and Fall of Advanced Social Journalism during the Early Twenty-First Century

Posts Tagged ‘College

Post-Secondary Education Is A God Damn Joke

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At the young yet somewhat experienced age of 28 (going on 29) I have finally received an undergraduate honours’ degree. My major was political science; it took me about five years and I entered university after getting a college diploma in journalism. I now have somewhere around twenty-five thousand dollars in debt from student loans and just got back from an interview to wash dishes at minimum wage for three days a week. In short: I have wasted a shit tone of money and time on something completely and utterly worthless. What follows is a list of my detailed grievances as well as a warning for anyone about to enter a post-secondary institution and a big “GO FUCK YOURSELF” to all those involved in academia.  

First off when I was naïve enough to register for school I was told by countless acquaintances, friends and relatives a plethora of misinformation, ignorance and otherwise fucking bullshit. So many people said these exact words to me “you have to go to school (university or college)” or “you should study what you like.” I was a big enough idiot to take their guidance.  It’s obvious from my current job hunting that I never had to go to school and as for the second quote – I should have realized that what I actually like is to sit on my fucking ass all day! What they should have said instead of “like”is “tolerate” and if I had heard that I would not have wasted time and money and just kept going from dead-end up job to the next or looked for an occupation where I could slack off enough and still get benefits. Having said this I do – or did – like writing (hence journalism) as well as politics when I was registering for school, however,  one does not get the some sort of quality of education or certification when taking courses in these broad topics as one would in studying to become a lawyer, doctor or engineer.

I’m going to sum up at least seventy-five percent of every course outline (syllabus or what-the-fuck it’s called!) for every course I was required to take in political science at university. For each class one academic essay was to be written from about 10 to 20 pages on something vaguely related to the course over a period of 4 months and there was either an exam – that consistently mostly of a single essay question – and/or a presentation on something vaguely related to the course. These projects were then marked – and I am convinced of this – in at best a completely subjective manner or more than likely arbitrarily by an individual (teacher assistant or professor) whose only qualification was that they had written more of these bullshit meaningless essays than those you are submitting them. I would compare the marking of an academic essay to that of a movie review. Someone who is “educated” in the field gives their opinion of a product with absolutely no scientific calculation and justification for the difference between an A- and a B+ or an explanation for exactly how many marks was lost for not using italics properly on a god damn fucking footnote!

Here is how I wrote every essay I submitted at university – I picked a bullshit subject that seemed easy, searched the key words in a database, found quotes in other bullshit essays that were long, took up space and agreed with my prejudices, slapped the quotes in my paper and reiterated the same points over and over again until I reached the number of pages required. This could all be accomplished in a matter of a few hours. I did not learn from the subject under review nor was I required to. For many of my courses I was forced to provide a hard copy of this drivel with complete disregard for the environment, the cost of printing and the obvious ability many of us have to read off a screen.  Like I said – most of the marking was arbitrary and I was usually lucky enough for the wheel to spin to my advantage.  I got mostly As or Bs and some Cs. I learned early on that working hard on an essay, speaking with the TA or prof about your thesis and actually researching a subject could end you up with a C- just as much as pulling 10 pages out of your ass the night before it’s due could get you an A.

If you’re still considering putting down five grand a year to study humanities or social sciences, or what-the-shit majors like history or political science fall under, allow me to defecate in a more narrow way on how a course in subjects like these will go. In my intro to political science class I did not understand ONE FUCKING WORD that the prof was saying – he might as well have been farting the entire time and I could have learned more from him. I got an A in the course… The professors also like to list off these “required readings” on the course outline. This by no means what-so-fucking ever has you obligated to read every page of the book. In fact I gave up on spending EXTRA money on these extremely expensive and absolutely worthless soft cover boring pieces of shit after a couple of years. The professors are often nice enough to detail what pages “need” to be read for each lecture and I do not recall in my first naïve and ignorant years of university ever being “required” to read  more than eve half any given book – however we were supposed to purchase the entire thing anyway. As matter of bitter fact I remember a course in which I was horseshit dumb enough to purchase only half the required readings and pay attention in class and to my common person surprise the only single instance when THREE BOOKS TOTALLY OVER 20 DOLLARS EACH was even mentioned was on an optional question on an exam in which the student was asked to pick one of the three books to discuss!! What needs to be understood is that professors have no ethical boundaries – they something is “required,” students buy more money after tuition and the prof throws it out the window.  Of course the university hands out these little customer review sheets when each course is finished – the answers of which are kept secret from future students and serve no purpose to those currently enrolled whose grade depends solely on the mood and personality of the “intellectual” who will mark their paper.

At this point I am assuming that many of you would call me a pessimist or even a cynic. To you I say why don’t you throw 25 grand and 7 years of your life down the fucking toilet so you can earn minimum wage and then look at the glass half fucking full!! I’ve heard a lot of people and pupils say “well you learned a lot about research and writing at university” which is bull-fucking-shit because all I did was rap words around quotes and then repeat myself over-and-over again. There is not one god damn occupation (outside of the ivory tower of academia) that pays someone full time wages to write an essay every four months. University gives you nothing to bring to the work force – N-O-T-H-I-N-G! I’ve also heard the argument that “employers” are now looking for people with more than just an undergrad degree because so many people have them these days. To this I say “What fucking ‘employers’? Who are they? For what kind of work? And are they so dumb to believe that even higher education would somehow qualify you for the real world?!” If writing  pointless 10-20 page essays for years wasn’t enough “education” what in god’s fucking green earth is writing an 50-100 pages of boring ass crap going to do for me?! For fuck’s sake I was never even taught to write a memo or been subject to a 40 hour work week!

Is the whole work force just transfixed on this façade?  A piece of paper on the wall? Behind it which exists a waste of time and money…The prejudices of the world flummox me. So many people are impressed by honours degrees, master’s degrees and phds – they are about as hollow and gabbing as the soul and vagina of a heroin addicted dime store hooker! I learned and experienced nothing in university that I could not have picked up on the internet for absolutely free. And that framed piece of toilet paper on my wall should not have cost me – or the taxpayers – anything!

And while many like to suck university’s dick they seem to think of college (community college to the yanks) as something for the commoners or a bit of joke. However in my two years at college I experienced the equivalent to an actual job! Every day I had something new to do and it had to be done by the end of the day – I was responsible for people and to people on a day-to-day basis. I was not asked to maybe or maybe not show up for a lecture, or read or not read boring drivel every week and then come up with 10 pages of crap in four months. I had a serious and regularly stressful schedule – like a real fucking job! However I studied journalism at college which was stupid because you don’t really need a certificate in this to work in the field like you would in accounting or computer programming. In my defence I took this program because I was told to study what I “like.”

Now, I never intended to offend anyone who is or has studied at university to become a doctor or lawyer or gone to college so they could work in a trade. I think the people in programs like these might actually learn something. But what I hope I have accomplished is to piss off anyone who gets paid to write and mark essays at a university. I have also tried to explain to everyone that instead of paying to “study” abstract subjects I am vaguely interested in I could have read a book and used the rest of my money to buy a house, travel the world and have a lot of sex with hot hookers.

Top Ten Most Ridiculous Aspects of University

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10) Putting Money on Student ID Cards: What the fuck is the point of this shit? Has anyone on campus heard of cash, credit or debit? Why would I need to move money onto my student card if I already have three other forms of currency? Some places on campus don’t even accept anything but student cards and cash. Why? Are they separate from the entire economic universe around them? I guess some students have mommy or daddy put money on their cards. That will teach them how to grow up real quick.

9) The Price of School Related Shit/Books: A coffee mug with your university’s name on it: 10$ – that’s a fair price. It’s plastic and made in China. You can afford it on a student’s budget. How about 75$ for a paperback book that you’re required to read 20 pages from and you’ll only do 5 and still get a B? Nothing wrong with that at all. No regulation needed. Professors and publication companies gain very little from this mega rip off.

8 ) Protests: If you’re in university you’ve got to protest every goddamn crack in the sidewalk. If the school tells you that you have to shit in a toilet pick up a sign that says, “Poo Freedom Now!” Everyone’s a fucking anarchist in Uni. Little do they know that they bend over and take it before they’re able pay for Bristol board and wood made from cut down trees in the rain forest.

7) School Spirit: who really gives a shit?

6) Emailing Profs and TAs: Good luck ever getting a response. Professors and Teaching Assistants have the only occupation in the Western World where they make their email addresses known and have absolutely no obligation to reply. Of course they have “other responsibilities.” I know when a customer asks me a question at my minimum wage job I tell them “I have studying to do – I can’t be bothered to help you even though I’m being paid to do so”

5) Left-Wing Bias: The war is over, the bums lost! Why is it that every social science teacher is a Marxist, Neo-Marxist, Socialist or whatever they’re calling their failed ideology these days? Profs get paid, right? And they buy shit too? OK then fuck off.

4) Marking: Here is how they mark a paper/exam in a social science/humanities class – they have a giant fucking wheel with the letters “A” to “F” labeled around the circumference and they spin it. In all honesty there is nothing in my four semesters at university to show that TAs and Profs mark with any formal direction what so ever. It is completely arbitrary.

3) Citation: Who invented this stupid shit? You can’t just write the name of the book and author, it has to be done a certain way. And of course it’s different for every department and every professor because apparently a PhD doesn’t allow you the intellect to understand Chicago style if you’re a Poli Sci Prof. Is a TA going to have a fucking seizure if the name of the author is in italics instead of the journal name?

2) Students Asking Unnecessary Questions: Put down your fucking hand. “When is something due?” If you didn’t ask that no one would ever know. This shit is not posted anywhere. And then there’s those who actually enjoy what they’re learning – you shut up too. Don’t make the lecture any longer to inquire about some intellectual masturbation.

1) Reading and Writing: This is all we goddamn do at university. Reading books and writing essays, read/write/read/write/read/write…Holy fucking shit every student that graduates is going to walk into their first real job interview and be asked, “what are you experienced at?” and all they can say is, “I can read AND write and do absolutely nothing else.” What job description is there that says, “we’re going to pay you for forty hours a week to come up with five ten pages essays on bullshit every few months”? All this drivel  is just words rapped around quotations in order to make the minimum number of pages required. However as long as we use the right citation, criticize the establishment, have a left-wing bias and get in touch with the TA/Prof in an non-electronic format they might actually pull something higher than a C+ out of the marking lottery used by the ivory tower to “educate” the masses.

Written by shanedantimo

September 10, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Aggressive Apathy vs. Naïve Radicalism

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Today we’re going to talk about students…that’s right, students. I want to compare some of the extreme, yet vocal, elements of students at university to those that represent the norm in community colleges. In college the kids there want to get in and get out – know what they need to know, get their diploma and work. In university the young scholars seem up to their necks in any issue that falls in their lap. Both are ignorant in their own particular ways.

College students could care less if the school was swindling them. At Mohawk College in Hamilton there were obvious hustles used on students to snatch from their already meager purses. For example, anyone enrolled at the school was charged for a locker on campus – even though there are 6,000plus students to lockers. And the administration is so authoritarian you’d think the Dark Lord of the Sith Dick Cheney himself was in charge of that dog and pony show. A professor at the collage was actually gagged and eventually fired for criticizing the school over a triviality. However those attending the institution aggressively ignored any attempts by the student newspaper to showcase the evident abuse of power. The student’s focus is ONLY on their diploma and what doors that piece of paper promises to open.

In university it seems few are as concerned with entering the workplace and are instead wide-eyed at any vague injustices and inequalities that may occur on campus. At Carleton University I’ve noticed protests so meaningless and vain that I can only conclude those involved would start a rally in their family kitchen if their hand got slapped going into the cookie jar. In Ottawa there was a surprisingly great uproar against the compulsory fee for a discounted student bus pass. To be against this is equivalent to opposing paying taxes because you don’t use all public services. Furthermore every one of us submits to unfairness by paying for tuition, textbooks, gas, cable, phone bills etc. It is naïve to protest against one unequal fee while willfully paying for another.

What the radical vocal component of university campuses doesn’t understand is that once we graduate we’ll then need to find a job and sell our labour/intellect. And in that situation we are consequently slaves to those who pay us. That doesn’t mean you can’t fight for certain rights but it does mean there are many inconveniences and inequalities that are inevitably outside our control. The apathy that so many college students have is unfortunate because they could practice at least some resistance in order to halt the rather obvious injustices imposed on them and others.

What interests me about the divergent views of those that go to university compared to college students is the stereotypical nature of each group’s characteristics. It is so utterly cliché when a young social science student straps a protest sign to a piece of wood when a higher authority exercises that authority. On the other hand college students are behaving just as blindly conventional when they regard training for the workplace as the workplace itself. It as if those studying for a diploma have already accepted that they are only paltry workers who are there to be taken advantage of and are incapable of doing anything beyond their assigned tasks.

Both attitudes are blatant polarities. And in my experience and true cynical temperament I have a hard time settling on either side of the fence. On the one side I don’t believe we should give up and sit on our hands just simply because injustice cannot always be prevented. However, I also think that if we are to object to every instance of unfairness we would be downright exhausted and unable to function in this society. The rational path would somewhere down the middle where one does not allow others to walk all over them but realizes that getting their toes stepped on every once in awhile is an unavoidable certainty

Put down your fucking hand and shut the fuck up

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I was actually going to write about the gays tonight but I decided against it while I was going through some coarse material for my studies. However, don’t be disappointed, I will in the near future, I promise you, be writing extensively on homosexuality and all its’ glory.

To bring attention to the theme under review I will explain to you how this topic came to mind. While filtering through some of my class-wide emails I come across a message from a young pupil of mine who seemed to not understand what was meant by having an assignment do BEFORE class began. And my answer to him is: what the fuck do you think that means? Hand in your goddamn, shitting, C-, piece of living kife in before the start of the boring fucking lecture. This Doctor IQ seemed not to be able to rap his mind around the concept of putting a piece of paper in the hands of the professor outside of the allotted time on his class schedule.

Excuse me sir you’re actually going to need to split the fucking atom or your genitals will be exposed to everyone in class – that is what is meant by handing in an assignment prior to the start of the lecture.

Why do people ask such stupid fucking questions? – “How do I hand it in?” – Shouldn’t you be more concerned with the actual content of your assignment than the obvious protocols for submission?

Another popular question concerning paper due dates is when people ask the professor “can I hand it in early?” To these people I say: “A: no, because you’ll be castrated if you hand it in early; B: get a fucking life and work on your assignment like everyone else by writing its’ entirety the night before it’s due; and C: are you an idiot?”

There seems to be many obvious questions being asked by people that are supposed to be graduating from a post-secondary school at some point in the future and will be a part of a responsible working and business class. You’d think they’d realize that there’s going to come a day in their lives when they are going to have to make a decision themselves without asking an authority figure for permission or advice on something blatantly obvious.

Another thing that gets my panties in a naught is when students ask instructors, or their peers, for information that can be easily obtained by accessing a central database that stores and delivers megatons of knowledge daily – this being the World Wide Web. I don’t how many times I’ve heard someone ask where and when something is due and/or the date and location of an exam or test. Did they think that this information was only available through word-of-mouth? The university doesn’t post exam schedules or coarse outlines you have to interrupt the lecture by inquiring the prof on such crucial particulars. This isn’t directions to a fucking party, this is information that is important and organized through the use of technology that has existed for the past two decades. “What day is the test?” It’s on this invention called “the Internet,” you’re actually supplied with what is called an “email address” by your university/college where you can exchange, post and obtain such trifling facts and figures. It’s not like the prof has memorized the exact room number of an exam that is not going to take place for another two months, or everyone in class knows the day of the week that the final assignment due date falls on. What am I going to pull out a fucking calendar in the classroom? Look it up, stupid!

This kind of paradoxically, hypocritically and ironically (as well as rather eloquently, if I may say so myself) brings me to my next case in point. Over and over again I’ve overheard random kids ask each other what the date is. “What’s the date?!” I should be asking you what millennium this is. Who the fuck doesn’t have a cellular phone, portable computer, or the sense of sight in this year of our lord, 2009? Check your fucking phone for the date! Believe it or not the technology exists for there to be a telephone-clock-calendar hybrid. And what do you need to know the date for anyway? You date your notes? If you’re writing on a laptop that shit is stored! Fucking dates? Who gives a shit?!

I am going to now conclude my exposé by taking a shit on all those flipping, annoying son’bitches that put their hands up every two and half seconds in class so they can squeeze a meaningless, ignorant and completely useless comment in for the whole god damn lecture hall to hear. These people can go fuck themselves. Remember in Full Metal Jacket when the whole platoon beats up that kid with soap because he made things worse for everyone? We need to do the same thing to kids that put up their hands too much. Seriously, they’ve got to go. I know every one of you who is in school has at least one of these bastards in each class and every one in that class hates that fucker. Let’s do it and let’s do it quick – gag these mofos. Our education is on the line, people!

After we’re done smothering these douches we’ve got to address the source of the problem. What needs to be understood is that the instructor is the leader and ultimate authority in the classroom. The teacher alone has the ability to refuse questions from hand-up regulars and/or request they’re shutting the fuck up. It takes some balls but you won’t get anywhere in life without a large set of semen producers.  If there is any training what so ever for college and university instructors (which I sincerely doubt there is) the first thing they should learn is when to tell people to be quiet. This goes for assholes that are having a box social at the back of the class, or the cocksuckers who put their hands up too much. Put those son’bitches in place, sir or madam.

Regrettably, I’ve noticed that a lot of professors actually encourage students to speak out and make comments during class. This is horseshit. Professors that are doing this are attempting to bring themselves down to the level of the common man by having a conversation with someone outside of the ivory tower they live in. As a tuition paying, fulltime student I’m not in class to hear some jackass with no diploma or degree talk about the issues under review, I want to hear the pompous dick that is marking my essays talk. There’s a reason why professors have a PhD. While they’re fully capable, and sometimes likely, to be wrong or bias in their teachings, the degree of reliability in their info is irrelevant. All I want to know is what is going to be on the test. I’ll write down that god created the heaven and earth with all its’ creatures in 10 fucking days a few thousand years ago if it’ll get me good marks on the exam.

Now, I know there are a lot of bleeding hearts out there that say students are under a lot of stress and it is a new and intimidating experience to go to university or college and people act differently or they may not be that knowledgeable of social norms and practices.  My rebuttal to that point is: when we have a consensus throughout the registered students of a class that a small minority are being an annoying douche bag, then these people have to go and we’ve got to feed them to the fucking wolves. It’s like in a zombie movie or story about a group stranded on an island or boat; if someone is going against the grain and holding everyone else significantly back we’ve got to through that mofo overboard. We must move forward. Furthermore, if it is just either you or I, you better be damn sure that it is going to be ME NOT YOU when the shit hits the fan! Put down your fucking hand, stop asking ridiculous questions, exercise some obvious courtesy for the betterment of this fellowship we call the human race.


The Logical Debate: An Endangered Species

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I consider myself to be somewhat of a moderate and maybe that is why I am capable of realizing the pros and cons of state intervention and its’ consequences. It is becoming increasingly clear that political debate is less about arguing between bigger or smaller government/higher or lower taxes and more about propaganda, bullshit and an irresponsible ignorance of the facts. The reforms being debated in the US concerning health care, for which I support in its’ most substantial form, is an example of this loss of logic. Up here (in Canada) many post-secondary students this past week took part in what was called a “Day of Action” in the vain hope of lowering the cost of university and college education for those enrolled. During both of these debates there has been very little discussion of the actual pros and cons of government spending – and in the case of US health care debate if such monetary issues are mentioned they are terribly inflated by the rightwing of the political spectrum. Quite paradoxically during Canada’s Day of Action the protesters wanted tuition “lowered” but they failed to comment on how this would be achieved – logically higher taxes or a movement of funds from another area of government spending.

In the United States of America there is something like 50 million people without health insurance. The American “system” of healthcare provides for emergency room service, coverage for the very poor and the elderly. Ironically (or consequently, depending on how you look at it), the US government pays more per citizen than the Canadian government does in our system of universal single-tier healthcare. Any citizen outside of the system in the US leaves their healthcare in the hands of the free market. The problem is many of the 50 mil or so without insurance can’t afford the high costs of for-profit healthcare. So liberals in the US want to allow those Americans to have the OPTION to be covered by the government. Now, a lot of rightwing radical, lunatic, corrupt, unsympathetic, self-admitting ignorant folks in the US who are against such legislation are calling these reforms “Nazism” and/or “Socialism” and/or “Communism.” All these systems of government could not, and do not, co-exist within political and sociological reality, as we know it. Thus anyone who takes the above view against healthcare reform seriously is a fucking idiot. The actual possible flaws of such reforms are, logically, increased government spending, higher taxes for the rich and complications in the registering of the uninsured.  It’s not in any way totalitarianism, it’s simply liberalism and it has its pros and cons – both of which should be considered. Unfortunately there is no actual opposition to such legislation because those that claim to be opposing reforms actually have no idea what the fuck they are talking about and/or are completely corrupt. It is obvious such reforms are necessary and they would inevitably have their costs that are a means to an end and a major component of the progressive tax system that’s existed in the greater part of the Western World since the Second World War.

A similar debate did not take place during the mentioned Day of Action last week. Students across the country protested the cost of what I think is college and university tuition. Not only did the protestors not layout how students could pay less for post-secondary education they were incredibly vague and failed to really stand up for any political cause other than not wanting to pay for something. Firstly, the student slogan was simply “drop fees” – what kind of fees? Tuition fees? What about fees outside of tuition that students are forced to pay as well? Where’s the money going to come from? The government aka our taxes aka the taxes students will be paying by the time they graduate with the jobs they got because of their college diploma or university degree?

The Drops Fees campaign was a part of a bigger movement entitled “Poverty-free Ontario (or Canada I can remember…)” which would lead one to believe that the protestors think of students as poverty stricken. I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb here to state that there is a bit of a difference between me & the guys I party with on weekends and the smelly hobo with the empty Tim Horton’s cup outside the grocery store. Priorities need to be organized a little better than to assume that all students in Canada live in poverty and should be treated as if so. Also, the students who aggressively advocate for “lower tuition”, along with the great majority of the organized far left in Canada, never disclose their actual political contentions. There is nothing wrong with being a social democrat or even a socialist but there is something blatantly insecure and hypocritical about not being able to use those political terms to describe oneself or advocate for higher taxes on the rich along with its’ twin component of more public spending if that’s what you believe is best for the country. Obama and some of the Democrats in the US have the scrotum to discuss higher taxes for the wealthiest of Americans in order to provide assistance for the poor.

I would like to make clear that I am not against the lowering of student expenses. I am a student and a lot of shit I pay for is expensive especially considering it’s impossible to earn a decent living while studying. However, I don’t support blanket legislation that would simply cap tuition and allow for any increases to be covered by the public purse. Firstly the drop out/failure rate needs to be considered when further subsidizing education because all the money spent on students who don’t complete their program is more or less a complete waste of taxpayer’s funds. Money would be better spent in the opening of government funded student loans to include those whose parents are high income earners as well as increases in spending for scholarship offers to students who prove to keep a high grade point average.  While these measures are costly they are fiscally much more responsibly than throwing taxpayer’s money at the hundreds of thousands of students that register every year regardless of their intentions to complete their studies. Secondly, tuition itself is only one part of what students pay when they register for school. If tuition were capped and further subsidized universities and colleges could still charge students enormous fees for what post-secondary administrators could independently deem outside of tuition. This is a very serious issue that gets little or no attention from political elites and student activists alike. It’s obvious that public money would be better spent in weeding out corruption at the university/college level and administering better efficiency than simply “dropping fees.” Students are getting fucked, that is for sure, but we need to know which orifice is being penetrated and understand how we can better block that cock.

Sadly, the above arguments and obvious observations were very much absent from the signs, banners and literature that were part of the nationwide student protest. It should also be noted that education is a predominately provincial issue thus students with signs at Parliament Hill in Ottawa might have got some questionable looks from politically informed observers. Furthermore it is very doubtful that the Prime Minister (even if it was within his, or his government’s, power) looked out of his office on the Day of Action at the protestors situated on a place of grass that is occupied daily by shouting sign-holders with grievances they want the government to handle and thought “today we’re going to listen to this group!” People go to Parliament, Queens Park and any other legislatures everyday to rally. It is no longer consequential to protest in this way, unless the numbers are significantly substantial, because rallies are a dime-a-dozen in this day and age.

Now I’ve attempted to shine a snippet of logic on two very different debates that many people, for some reason or another, are very passionate about. Pertaining to the first issue discussed we have people in the US that want the government to have a bigger role in providing healthcare with the funding of more taxes on the very wealthy and/or a relocation of expenses. And those opposed to healthcare reform are unfortunately either propagandists backed by big medicine or overly nationalistic douches that will get behind anything that uses the words “freedom” or “USA” as long as it doesn’t involve black people or gays. And here in the greatest country in the world students take their turn at waving signs at politicians because they think they are paying too much to get the education that will allow them to become a part of the same hypocrisy that they protested when they were in school. Could either of these be considered a logical debate? I think not.

How much is this laptop, Mohawk?

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In my program (Journalism Print and Broadcast) it is mandatory to lease laptops from the school. This hits the pocket hard – $2,729.24 a semester as a matter of fact. Most students in other programs find it shocking when I tell them that we, Journalism students, pay $5,458.40 a year here for tuition at Mohawk. I, like I’m sure other Journalism students had no idea we would be paying that much for college. I was aware there was a laptop lease involved with the program but I did not know that it would cost that much including tuition. The college staff likes to refer to this lease as an “Ancillary fee” but students could care less what it is classified as.
What’s even more disturbing than the cost to rent these computers (875$ a semester – a number that does not appear on any fee statement sent to any student) is the complete lack of transparency and mountains of red tape the college has sent up against students finding out how much money they’ve put into these computers and how much it would cost them to buy it out.
We, the graduating class of 08, will be the first students ever to be given the option to buy the computers that we’ve been leasing for up to four semesters. If you lease a car you’re always given the option to buy it when the lease runs out, but former journalism students were not given that right. The thousands of dollars my predecessors put towards these machines was practically flushed down the toilet. The college uses the word “lease” when referring to the enforcement of these learning tools – that is incorrect they were in fact “renting” them – because if it were a lease they would have been able to take them, for a cost, home after graduation.
At the beginning of the semester the communications department mentioned several times that we could finally purchase the MacBook Pro’s when we graduate. However, the college never gave us price until we rigorously approached them several times while voicing complaints about numerous other problems that were occurring with our “brand new computers.” College staff should be trained and civil enough not to dangle a Mac laptop in a student’s face like a farmer dangles a carrot in front of a mule.
I, for one will not be buying this laptop. For one reason, they have been nothing short of disasters and a great burden on me and my fellow pupils. They arrived several weeks late and have had countless bugs and system set ups that are complete annoyances (we were not able to set any preferences [background, bookmarks, savings to the desktop] until last week! and it took my computer about five minutes to wake up from its “sleep” before I could write this column). Secondly, the buyout cost is an earth-shattering $2,124.36 for ‘08 graduates. Future Shop has the identical computers listed at $2,199.99 brand new! Not to mention the fact that we’ve been using them for eight months and have put down an incredible $1,750 on them through leases.
All these numbers were incredibly difficult to come by. One would think that a learning institution would easily provide their students with facts and figures that concern their own education. Unfortunately, that is not the case – this is my fourth semester and this is the first time I have seen a breakdown of where my $1,650 (the amount of I’ve put into the Macs for two semesters) has gone. A petition was put together regarding compensation for the tardy arrival and inefficiency of the computers as well as to request basic information on buyout and pricing. I don’t feel all students should need to come together as one demanding voice to request a simple receipt that details what you’ve paid for.
My class spent $1,750 on Dell laptops last semester and we were not allowed to take them home at years end. The money paid out was disregarded when we were given the cost of buying the new MacBook Pros.
After several weeks the college complied to give each student a whopping $100 discount if they choose to buy the laptop and also a $100 dollars off next semester’s tuition (even though the college was apparently unaware that most students had already filed their payments for the upcoming semester).
The computer maintenance staff has been helpful when they are available and most of our instructors have been considerate regarding our troublesome computers but the college administration was a hard nut to crack. The information we requested should have been provided for us before we even enrolled – simply when we were reading about the program on the Mohawk website. The college needs to understand – we’re students – we’re poor! Respect the fact that $875 a semester is a lot of money to us and this cost should not be slipped in or hidden in the cost of “tuition,” “ancillary fees” or whatever anyone wants to call it.

Written by shanedantimo

January 17, 2008 at 1:58 am