My degree is worth 4,000 bottles of Pert shampoo

Mar 4th, 2009 | By | Category: Columns

Nathanael Edward Bassett


Students are people in transition.

Suddenly, newfound freedoms abound. You don’t have to shave if you don’t want to, your breath can stink if you choose and your dietary habits can resemble the grease trap behind a Korean restaurant.

People are getting pledged, getting drunk, getting diseases and thinking it’s the best time of their lives. At the same time, you’re getting an education, taking courses that have little to do with your degree and studying at the last minute. What were you going to be when you grew up? And have you changed majors yet?

Just remember; the meter is running.

Unless you’re working hard with a full-ride scholarship or your parents are paying your way, you are attending MSU on loans and grants. This means some bank has approved you as an acceptable risk with an eventual return. Right now, interest is accumulating on an account somewhere. Someday, you’ll graduate and have to pay off that investment. With your new shiny degree, you’ll be able to afford it, right?

At least it will beat flipping burgers back in Sedalia. As the commercial goes, you can’t get a job without any skills. You can’t get any skills without going to school. You can’t go to school without money. And you can’t have any money without a job. So we’re back to either living with no money or living in debt. Once you get out of school, there should be jobs lined up waiting for a college graduate. But not always! So what’s a good backup plan?

The Washington Student Lobby says students on average graduate with about $19,000 in debt. That means you’re leaving school with nearly nothing but your Bears sweats and your diploma. You’d better have some sort of plan together. Would you pay for a meal you decided not to eat? Of course not. By that logic, who in their right mind would pay for a class they weren’t going to attend?

Or decide to fail a course they didn’t put any effort into? That’s almost $600 down the drain. You can buy 64,434 live ladybugs off of for the cost of failing a 3-credit course. And I’ll bet you could have a lot more fun with that many bugs than you could agonizing over one class for a whole semester.

So remember why you’re here. Work hard, because in the end, you want to be able to pay those bills. Every time you drop a grade, think about the wasted money that you’ll still have to pay back. One gen ed course – 3654 ping pong balls. A four credit science course – 93 pounds of raw jumbo shrimp.

Otherwise, you’re going to have to start thinking of ways to pay that 20 grand of debt if you can’t get a job. Ideas; pronounce yourself legally dead and move to Wyoming to be a folk singer. Embezzle cash with the mob. Go to Vegas and hope you win big. Learn to count cards and hope to get away before you wind up in an alley with no kneecaps. I like my kneecaps, so I try to do well.

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