Paying the Price by Lauren Sheperd

“Where are you thinking of going to school? Do you know what you’re going to study? What do you want to do professionally?”

We all get asked these questions junior and senior year, and usually even before then. And we all have our own way of answering. For me, I respond with, “I want to go to a city, I don’t know what I want to study, but I know I want to go to law school, and I want to do something like what Bryan Stevenson did; his work is amazing.” Vague, but specific enough for adults. I’m satisfied, they’re satisfied, it’s excellent.

These questions used to stress me out, but I’ve gotten used to them. I understand that adults are just curious, not trying to freak me out, and often have little to talk about with a 17 year old girl. Though the terror of being asked the college questions has diminished, my other fears have not. 

$66,000 for University of Michigan. $60,000 for DePaul. A huge sum of $75,000 for Northwestern, and they don’t even give merit scholarships. Now multiply each of these numbers by four. That’s the average cost of my higher education. And that doesn’t even count law school, something I’ve pushed so far away from my brain, hoping there will be change when I get to that point. 

Every time I sit in a college information session, which are all starting to sound the same, the massive bill slams me in the face. I know my realization of how much college costs isn’t profound, but I can’t even picture how much money a tuition costs. 

My brain started hurting when I came to the conscious realization that I might have to stay in Ohio because of the cost of going out of state. I flipped. Ohio is great, and there’s nothing wrong with going to a school in Ohio, but I have this NEED to get out of here, to be in one of America’s biggest cities, to truly experience a different type of life.

Yes, preaching to the choir, I know. But something needs to be done. No one is doing enough. I’ve thought extensively about the solution, and nothing. Everything that sounds amazing is impossible, but I know something has to be done. Until then, I’ll drown in the only $3000 I made from lifeguarding almost every day in the summer.

4 thoughts on “Paying the Price by Lauren Sheperd

  1. I have 100% experienced everything you talk about in this blog. It always stresses me out when adults are constantly asking me what I wanna do with my life. Good luck with your college visits!

  2. I feel this on such a personal level. All of the schools I applied to this year are out of state and have large price tags. It is very scary to think about the massive amount of student debt that will be racking up over the next four years of my life. Now I am facing the rush of filling out as many scholarships as I can. I wish you the best of luck next year, I know that no matter where you end for college you will kill it!

  3. This is such a great topic and *wow* I have the same dreams as you. With that said, you’re not just “preaching to a choir” – college is way too expensive – every voice is SO important in this movement to LOWER the cost of college.

  4. Definitely don’t miss those college discussions- glad to be done with that. At least you seem to have some direction with what you want to do with your future. I’d bet some adults still couldn’t answer that questions.

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