While searching through Twitter on a random day, I came across a quote that really hit me. Cynthia Dewi Oka tweeted , “A reminder that some parents learn a new language, give up their professions for minimum wage jobs—often a few at a time, don’t see their families for decades, never take a vacation, and save their grief for the midnight commutes on the bus so their kids can go to college.” As a Boston College student who has not forgotten the woes my family had to face in order for me to attend this private school, I would like to remind the BC community as a whole of their privilege. We as a community need to better remember those who have shed blood, sweat, and tears to bring us to this phenomenal institution.
According to its website, BC tuition without financial aid is $72,736. The undergraduate academic tuition is $56,780. If upwards of $50,000 does not sound like a lot, try picturing this: every year, our education here is worth more than a Mercedes-Benz E-Class. In fact, our education is worth four Mercedes-Benz E-Class cars.
When I think of this, I am especially appreciative of my parents. They are the reason I sit in the front row of all my classes. Sitting in the front has also introduced me to people who think a lot like me. We all want to soak up the information that professors teach, so that one day, we can master the material too. Although many of my peers do put an enormous amount of time into learning the curriculum presented, some students tend to skip class and play internet games while hiding in the back. I don’t condemn this behavior, in large part because these students aren’t seeing the real picture.
Unlike in high school, where we were to regurgitate what our teachers preached and respond “yes mam or yes sir,” college academics are a time for intellectual exploration and questioning. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a better man or woman for others.
As with many other universities and colleges in the United States, BC has a drinking culture. However, I do not wish to label alcohol as an epidemic because some people do use it to relax and have fun. College is a time of freedom, and, although academics are significant, socializing is equally as important. In fact, the majority of college is spent as a young adult learning the social life of the “real world.” That said, I do wish to address a small minority of those who get transported and engage in binge-drinking.
Drinking too much can put your own body in danger. I don’t believe that any parent, regardless how wealthy, wants to spend $70,000 to endanger their child. Not only do those parents feel pain, but so do those closest around the student at hand. Rarely do we know how much our friends mean to us. It isn’t until an accident occurs to them that we don’t start to take them for granted. And the love that we give one another is more than $50,000. It is worth more than four Mercedes cars—quite frankly, there is no price tag on the love that friendship and family provide for us.
Overall, I am very proud to be part of the BC community. But I know that we can do better by being more aware of our privilege. I know that the advantage of attending top-tier academics and the ability to have a meaningful social life is not the only one we have here at BC. We are so lucky to be engaging in meaningful dialogue with those we care about.
I have a friend who questions my daily beliefs, thereby making me a better debater and encouraging me to see other perspectives. I did not have that in high school. No one gave me the time of day to do that—they were just focused on getting into Ivy League colleges. And, most importantly, I have been given a privilege of a lifetime writing this article. I get to express my thoughts freely to the BC community (freedom of the press) and be part of an organization that is well known throughout Boston. I am so thankful for all the privileges I have been given—and so should you.