The Real Cost of a College Degree

Person in a lightbulb-shaped hot air balloon drifting towards their goal, marked by a red flag.
Person in a lightbulb-shaped hot air balloon drifting towards their goal, marked by a red flag. Photo from Pixabay.

For my whole life, I dreamed about the years I would be in college. I dreamt of moving away from home, and finally taking that first step towards being independent. But now, as I am entering my final year of undergrad, I realize that I had taken living at home for granted.

As someone who had parents that seemingly cared more about my academic success than I did, it felt like I was under constant surveillance to study and work hard. And along with this neverending pressure to obtain great grades came equal stress. To me, college seemed like my one chance to prove myself, and when the time finally came, I was ecstatic to start living on my own.

But once I started my college life, I was quickly hit by the reality of what I left behind. I missed out on watching my younger brother grow nearly two feet taller. I was shocked at myself for wanting to be home again, even though I had finally attained the freedom I desired. In return for controlling my own choices, I gave up the comfort of being at home.

However, there were — and are — so many amazing experiences that I never would’ve known had I not come to Madison. From being involved on campus, studying abroad and learning more about my identity, I’ve become the person I am today. And while I’ve mainly told you about what I’ve missed while I was away from home, don’t let this stop you from taking every chance you get, especially while at college. And hey, everything comes at a cost, doesn’t it?

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