Get a degree or get out – no excuses

Michelle Poje

In just about 10 weeks from today, I will experience freedom for the first time since I was six years old.

I will finally be finished with school.

Call me dramatic, but 17 years of homework and snarling teachers is more than enough for any human being to have to endure in a single lifetime. I’m ready to join the real world of 9 – to – 5 and an income that exceeds $7 dollars an hour.

However, I’m amazed at the number of students who are content with remaining behind the bars of the college prison. They are students who are delaying their chances of obtaining that same freedom I am currently hungering for. Why are so many of us willing to waste our time and money?

I understand not everyone can finish college in the typical four-year time frame. Some students have to pay for college themselves and juggle classes with jobs, which can certainly delay one’s education.

But many of us don’t have a valid excuse. I’m sick of students who drop class after class because it’s too hard or the teacher is mean. I’m sick of people who change their majors 10 times in one semester. I’m sick of commuters who act like a 45 – minute drive is so exhausting they can only take one or two classes at a time (I know people who drive twice that distance everyday for their jobs).

Students need to stop making excuses and start getting degrees. According to a 2004 study entitled “A Matter of Degrees: Improving Graduation Rates in Four Year Colleges and Universities,” six out of 10 college freshmen graduate within SIX years. What are the remaining 40 percent of us doing?

Some states, including Ohio, are even considering creating a credit access limit to get lingering students out of college quicker. There has also been talk from the Ohio Board of Regents of providing “success challenge money” to public institutions to help create programs that will push students out the door.

But our universities in Ohio don’t need money for fancy programs. We need students to start kicking their rears in gear. Despite what films like Animal House have taught us, college is not a teenage playground of endless toga parties and slacking. It’s not a place where 30 year olds who have been on campus since they were 18 should still be trying to obtain that desired bachelor’s degree. Let’s get with it already.

I highly support the decision to place a credit access limit on college students. A limit will help prevent students from taking loads of classes they don’t need, thus hogging up seats from students who really need them. If a student goes over their limit, they should not be allowed to continue attending the university. It’s as simple as that.

Something needs to be done. Students need to start motivating themselves to get through college and contribute their talents and skills to society. If they can’t do that, then they don’t deserve to be here.

Stop making excuses, and start working to get to the graduation finish line. We’re all here with the same goal. Now let’s start reaching for it.

Michelle Poje is a senior newspaper journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].