Paying the Piper Part 2 (I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore)
Decided to post this special edition of my blog since I just payed my tuition for the semester. $5093 dollars down the tube for one last time. I am fortunate that my parents are supportive of the college process, and have provided 3000 dollars of their own money for tuition purposes. I fudge that a little, so $2000 even came out of my bank account today. I try and think about this massive chunk of money, along with 50,000 other massive chunks of money flooding into the U's coffers in terms of consumption. It is diffiicult -- what exactly am I consuming here that is worth $5,000 paid every four months?
I am paying the University much in the same way I pay the government. My tax money and tickets and fines are somehow going through "the man's" complex network of tunnels and funnels, leading me to believe that these moneys are actually funding things the government does to improve my life. The only thing that comes to mind is roadwork, and police and fireman, I suppose, but cops have caused me much more trouble these last few years than they have helped.
So what is the University using my money for, as far as I am concerned? They certainly aren't hiring an abundance of quality professors or design professionals to guide me through this strenuous program. My three years here (having spent two at Madison as an art major) have been accented by a select few actual professors, people I can look to and trust as knowledgeable in the design profession. Far outnumbering these would be the TA, or my favorite, the "I know diddly squat but somehow I am teaching this class" guy. These are the ultimate pranks universities love to play on the students who fund its machinery. By having a TA teach an upper level design class, (I had TAs for Computer Apps One and Two, GD2, and GD3) the University kills two birds with one stone -- they can have a free employee by helping with their tuition instead of actually paying them, and they can save money by not paying someone who actually knows what they are talking about to teach the class. Granted I have had some (one) great TA(s) here. He was smart and professional and knew a lot, I learned a lot and recall his class fondly. But most of the time, these people who are going through the graduate program in DHA care more about their own well being then running a successful and functional class.
This leads me to believe that the money I pay to the U each semester goes more to build stadiums, add pretty new landscape architecture, and renovate creaky old buildings that make this campus great. I sure hope that your athletics and architecture can make it great, because it sure isn't the actual teaching. Scratch one, our athletics suck. Tubby Smith is being paid millions to "turn around" the fortunes of a basketball team that has almost zero talent. TCF stadium comes with a 240 MILLION DOLLAR PRICE TAG. This is supposedly paid 40% by the state (us, taxpayers) with the remaining 60% being furnished by the University of Minnesota. And who pays the University's bills? We do. The school isn't paying a damn penny of this stadium, and they can sit around counting our money and spending it however they want.
In conclusion, I would like to say that college life ain't all bad -- what I am really paying for is the structure designed to motivate me through this process. There are some good things about the University, I just can't think of what because my head is still spinning from my bank account being sliced in half.
P.S. One last thing-- it's my last semester here, portfolio time, and our portfolio class is once a week, pass-fail. Hands down the most important part, the culmination of our work as a student designer, and it is pass-fail, once a week.