WEB EXCLUSIVE DECEMBER EDITION
OPINION: Is it worth it? I don’t know, but it’s a struggle
By David Gomez Jr.
Published Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021
As I get closer and closer to taking less credits per semester, I can’t help but think, so far: is earning a degree even worth it?
I see my family getting older and impatient, my goddaughter growing up faster than I can blink, my body getting wider from malnutrition and my debt accumulating. Reaching near $30,000 now. Yup.
I am a part-time student, part-time worker and part-time editor-in-chief of The Bridge. Every day, I contemplate quitting one of the three and it’s taking its toll.
Though, let me tell you all the things that make me believe I am on the right track.
I’ll start with my family. They’re not only supportive of me, but patient. Lately, they have asked the questions which I loathe so much.
“So when are you going to graduate?” or “Didn’t you go to Early College so you could be done already?”
They are fair questions. I can’t deny that, but it’s not from a lack of trying. It’s from uncertainty. The fear of attaining a degree and not using it; like many of today’s college graduates, this scares the hell out of me. Because it begs the question … “What was all this [college] for?”
Yet for my family, I want to prove to them it wasn’t for nothing. That and to be a role model for my goddaughter. I strongly think she needs to see that she has a choice to go to college rather than to think she never could.
Work. WORK. Oh, man. It’s a job. Not a career.
There isn’t a day that goes by where without an annoyance that messes with my mood.
This is something I’ve tried to work on. It’s also not from having thin skin, but from years of tolerance. I’ve bit my tongue so much that I’m sure it’s pierced now.
The saving grace is actually the customers I help. It’s in my nature to always help someone. This influence came from my first job at Chick-fil-A.
By the way, being the editor-in-chief of a campus newspaper is so difficult. I understand why past editors just upped and quit. It definitely can be a main focus when homework isn’t due until next week. For some reason, events, interviews and taking photographs become the main priority over homework—which leaves me to do my projects the night before.
The brightside to this, though, is being out of my own comfort zone. I can hide behind a camera, ask questions an average person might ask and attend events I never knew existed that can influence community change. It is definitely eye opening.
Last but not least, taking core college courses is the death of any student dreaming of a degree.
I was never a teacher’s pet or most likely to succeed back in my high school days, but I tried. Not my hardest, but I tried. Ha ha.
It wasn’t until I took my first core curriculum courses when I thought college was nothing but a fantasy made up on TV and film. I hated my courses, professors and assignments. I’ve only ever used history, math, science and English to start a conversation. Maybe that was the point?
I think that’s giving them too much credit.
Trudging through my core classes, and finally taking my communication courses, I felt a breath of fresh air and gained a new perspective of what college could be. This is when it felt like the playground the older kids would tell me about.
My communication classes do feel like too much sometimes, but I’m always eager to learn because of the new, informed thoughts I process, and understand, which is the most important part about college life.
I finally feel that attaining a degree is worth something—valuable even. The debt I’m accumulating seems small in comparison to how much I think this experience could be worth in the long run.
I won’t sugarcoat it either. I’ve had breakdowns, sleepless nights and negative thoughts surrounding everything—not just school, but in terms of attaining a degree.
A goal: everyone needs a goal in life and I’m currently after mine. By God, I will attain my goal and it’ll be worth it.