University of San Francisco
(Disclaimer: I don’t mean to knock anyone who didn’t go to a private school. I’m just sharing my experience at a private Jesuit university.)
If you were to ask me why I even decided to go to an expensive private college in the first place, I’d have to take you all the way back to my senior year in high school (ages ago, I know ;P). Long story short, it was almost time to turn in an intent to register and I was set on going to a public university. But my mom sat me down and convinced me that we can work it out, and that the tuition would be worth it. I hastily agreed with no real thought into it, but it ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve made.
I began my college career at a place that I didn’t really want to go to. But by the grace of God, I slowly began to realize how perfectly I fit into the USF community. My professors (well, most of them) truly cared about me; and not just how my assignments were going, but also about my well-being. While old high school classmates were struggling to get into the classes they needed at state universities, my school made sure I was on track to graduate on time (even a little early). A majority of the students at USF were also receiving financial aid, so I didn’t feel out of place. I made some lifetime friends working at the school’s cafe as well as in my business classes. Juggling classes and work challenged me in ways I could have never imagined and I gained life experiences that I don’t think I’d have at a place that didn’t challenge me.
But the number one reason why I love USF is in their (former) mission statement. When I was a student, it was “Educating hearts and minds to change the world.” At my graduation, we had a speaker talking about how we didn’t just get these business degrees to get rich. This speaker went on the tell us of the sad stories of poverty in Africa and that we are responsible for them – with great power (education) comes great responsibility. I heard many of my fellow graduates murmuring things like, “Why is he talking about depressing stuff? We’re at a graduation!”, but instead I was inspired. My education was meant to really change the world, not just change my bank account. Whether it was doing a semester long internship at an after school program, or writing a new business plan for a struggling Bay Area business – USF really helped me realize that we need to be the change we want to see in the world.
I’ve seen plenty of articles lately about college not being worth the money anymore. I’m not going to ignore the student loan debt crisis, but I think it depends. For some (like me), paying for these loans is like investing in myself, investing in something worthwhile. There are plenty of universities, both public and private, that are worth the money if you want to learn! On the other hand, if you don’t see the point in getting a degree and just want to go ahead and start working, then do that! It depends on what your goals are.
I didn’t know it at the time, but getting an education from a Jesuit university was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for myself and the loans I’m paying off right now are worth every single penny. You can’t convince me otherwise.