Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Tassel Hassle

I got my official College Graduation Super Fun Pak yesterday -- it contained five anonymous commencement invitations, a schedule for the event, a couple of random scraps of paper, and a two-page "guide" to being an alumna. Short version: "Give us money. No, more."

This is funny, y'see, because this year tuition and fees at my alma mater come to $37,840 -- students who are graduating on time have sunk the best part of $150K into their edumacation. (I haven't put in nearly that kind of cash, since A) tuition and fees were high when I originally went, but still a good $10-12K cheaper than now; and B) back in the day, my college was genuinely "need-blind" and poor students like me got a hell of a hand out. The school is still nominally need-blind, but that doesn't seem to happen anymore.) It's frankly amazing that this college of 350 students and 50-some-odd professors (none of whom make anything like a typical professor's salary) can keep hoovering up cash at such a phenomenal rate and still spend two decades on the very edge of the financial abyss. What the fuck are they doing with it all, anyway? Nobody gets paid well enough, the campus is still in crappy shape, and nobody has what they need. Last term, the music students had to go begging in the community for money to buy two new piano benches -- I mean, you'd think that would be covered by $37,840 per student, but apparently not.

I'm not as inclined as some to put the place down -- if I had it to do all over again, I'd just take the free ride at the University of Texas, but I don't regret having gone. It was a good school, basically, even if I do maintain something of a love-and-hate relationship with it (as does every other alum I know.) The only thing that annoys me is that next month, when I go back to Vermont with my mother for commencement, I don't get to keep the hat. Seriously, for that kind of money, I should get to keep the goddamn hat. I don't even get to keep the tassel! It says so right here on the schedule:

You MUST RETURN the cap, tassel, and gown to the Greene Room immediately after the ceremony, before going to the tent for refreshments! Students will be charged $75.00 if these items are not returned, and a $25.00 charge will result if not returned immediately after the ceremony.

For my decade's worth of work and five figures worth of debt, all I get is a (small) piece of paper and the right to put the words "BA with honors" on my resume.

I should really get to keep the tassel.

I want to wear a sign to commencement that says, "I spent four years at this boutique liberal arts college, and I didn't even get a goddamn t-shirt."

Or a tassel.

PS: Oh, and our commencement speaker is a bit lame as well. Some classes get Nobel laureates, and some of us get lawyers. Luck of the draw, I guess.
2:36 AM ::
Amy :: permalink