By Angie Burkhart |Staff Writer|
Today, college students face more challenges than those of previous generations due to tuition increases, yet some continue to remain optimistic about their futures.
According to reporter Niraj Chokshi of The Washington Post, “the West saw tuition and fees for four-year public school education rise by 86 percent over the past decade-more than in any other region.”
The continuous increases in college tuition and fees over the years is not only alarming, but has had a domino effect, causing the percent of working students to increase along with it.
“A new U.S. Census Report determined that 71 percent of the nation’s 19.7 million college undergraduates were working in 2011. Of that number, one in five undergrads were working at least 35 hours a week year round,” stated higher-ed journalist Lynn O’Shaughnessy.
Some students have to work while enrolled in classes, as many of them are working just to afford college, due to lack of assistance with tuition from their parents.
According to reporter Tyler Kingkade of The Huffington Post, “fewer parents are chipping in to pay for college, dropping their contribution to education costs by 35 percent from 2010 to 2012.”
CSUSB student Malari Zarate, for example, stated, “I work full-time to stay afloat, and attend school full-time also.”
Despite the sense of negativity I believe has come over higher education due to high costs, student debt, and unemployment rates, some students, such as myself, have remain optimistic.
As an individual who grew up impoverished, I often doubted my ability to obtain a college degree, because I simply couldn’t afford it. Then I came across a few words of encouragement that have since resonated with me.
Former UCLA Basketball Coach, John Wooden, said that “ability is a poor man’s wealth.”
It was then that I realized, although it wouldn’t be easy financially, I had ability, and therefore, the power to control the direction of my future; these words have driven me through my college education.
I am not the only student who has remained positive about college education.
Former CSUSB student, Brittany Terrazas, stated, “Regardless of the financial burdens I faced in my college career, I was always confident in my ability to be successful after graduation.”
But is this sort of optimism far fetched or unreasonable? I would argue that this sort of optimism is not only valid, but has benefits for those who maintain it.
If you have ever heard of the self-fulfilling prophecy, you may be able to predict where I am headed with this.
“Believing a goal is attainable motivates us to get closer to our dreams. Because of the power of optimism, enhancing graduates’ faith in the American dream by presenting them with rare examples of proof is just what the doctor ordered,” stated neuroscientist Tali Sharot, guest contributor for The New York Times.
Sharot added that “cautious optimism may be the most useful message to communicate to graduates – believe you can fly, with a parachute attached, and you will soar like an eagle.”