While I was gone, the academic fund-raisers were hard at work filling my inbox. The not-so-subtle message was that I should feel privileged to have attended the colleges that I did. Let's be clear, I didn't transfer around. My two degrees are from two colleges that are housed and exist within one land-grant university. And, my time was interrupted by a tour of duty for Uncle Sam. In fact, it was the GI bill, since modified, that allowed my return to school.
If my uneducated brain and psyche were elevated, isn't that what I paid for? Didn't the education process teach me to understand the world, especially salesmanship? No salesperson touts the negative or the obvious, just the benefits to achieve a sale.
I earned (a key point) a degree in journalism. So, if I now write novels, (It's a rhetorical question as all blog readers know.) that's within the realm of my education that I paid hard-earned dollars for. Should I be required to pay again? Those terms aren't used by the college solicitors. They use terms like donations or "giving back." If I bought a car two years ago and paid a fair price, should I now this year be required to pay more? Is education any different?
Now, if the educational institution had since my graduation given me additional enhancements, I would indeed be a slacker if I ignored the fair value of what I'd received. But that's not the case. The college hasn't shelved my novels in their library. They haven't invited me to speak to demonstrate that they've given me a special skill above and beyond tuition paid. They have neither purchased nor promoted the fruits of my paid-for skills. All correspondence has not been "how are you doing, we worry about you," but here's an envelope for your check, payable to us.
This year represents the 40th year since my graduation. What did the school do? They said, send us money and you can attend a reunion in your honor. Well, if I'm a guest to be feted, do I need to buy an admission ticket? If I was allowed to attend without paying, wouldn't the college be compensated by my spreading of good will? I guess they didn't wish to take the chance. It may say something about how revered they held my school attendance.
Reality is not sour grapes. Reality is what it is.