FEMALE PERSPECTIVE: School takes longer than expected, so get used to it

It’s time to start the Spring 2012 Semester. Oh, we’re a week late? We’ve been trying to pretend that school hasn’t actually started yet. And we’ve been trying to read the Hunger Games series once more before we feel the pressures of the semester.

While we were ignoring the fact that we are back, we realized that school takes a long time.

We’re not talking about the 12 years that are required for primary schooling. Preschool to high school graduation is a long time to be in school. And when we’re finally done with that, we get to complete at least four more years of school.

If you’ve lasted this long, congratulations. But unfortunately, finishing college in four years just isn’t realistic anymore. Especially if you plan to attend a community college before heading off to a four-year school.

Here at Palomar, it’s hard to get everything done in two years. Completely opposite to the philosophy of fast food restaurants, Palomar seems to encourage a full seven-course, fancy dinner.

Don’t know what you want to do with your life? Try a little bit of this and a little bit of that. No rush, no guidance, no questions asked. Coming back to school after taking a long time off? No problem. We have lots of options and plenty of extra time.

But this philosophy creates a large-scale problem. Because of this apparent mindset, we have more students at Palomar than it seems the school can handle. Palomar has three times as many students as Cal State San Marcos. Not all of these students actually intend to transfer either. There seems to be a constant battle between the students who want to get out of Palomar and the students who are content to stay here  for a while.

The students who want to get out of Palomar need to take specific classes, but we have students taking up seats who have no actual need for these classes. It becomes a modern-day revival of the age-old battle between wants and needs. Unfortunately, the school cannot police enrollment based on who simply wants to take the class and who is determined to transfer.

Not only do these students not need the classes to transfer, but these students aren’t even bothering to complete their associate degrees. According to a San Diego Union-Tribune article written by former Palomar College President George Boggs, 89 percent of community college students are not earning associate’s degrees after attending community college for six years.

It is actually dangerous to stay in college too long. According to a report by Complete College America, students who spend more time in college are more likely to drop out and give up completely. If you’ve spent eight years in college, dropping out means that all those years were a waste of time.

If you have committed yourself to getting a higher education, you should commit yourself to finishing – no matter how long it takes.


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1 Comment

  1. Most Palomar students don’t earn an AA even in 6 years… That doesn’t have anything to do with which students “have no actual need” for their classes. Which students would you consider the parasites? The kid who’s only taking one or two classes each semester because he’s also got a job and a family? The granny sitting in the front row, back at school to keep her mind sharp? The highschool kids who worked their butts off at math only to find that their school didn’t offer calculus? The gal with a good job who keeps taking classes out of nothing but genuine interest?

    Providing for a family, mental exercise, outstanding achievement, and love of knowledge are all excellent reasons to be in college. Checking boxes for four years (when you’re not partying) to get what amounts to a permission slip for a higher-paying job seems parasitic by comparison.

    You say “If you’ve spent eight years in college, dropping out means that all those years were a waste of time.” This is absurd. It’s true that you won’t have a slip of paper to show for your time… But you will have logic, science, writing, history, and art and be better for it. And as far as money is concerned, many dropouts leave because they find a good job for which they didn’t need a certificate.

    It’s called COMMUNITY college for a reason. If you’d rather go to a school where everyone knows exactly where they’ll be and when they’ll be there, apply somewhere else and stop telling us we’re wasting our time.

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