The plan is to finish within 4 years, not jobless

In response to Joseph Vandhey’s “‘Four-year degree’ a flexible deadline: ”As a freshman who believes in the “four-year plan,” I want to offer my perspective on the issue. I believe Mr. Vandehey makes valid points; education is not and should not be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ experience, and it is unfortunate that a stigma is attached to students who take longer than four years to complete their degrees. However, the important factor that he failed to mention is money. In an ideal world where the economy isn’t falling apart, we could all explore academia for five, six, seven years, trying to find our perfect “calling.” That’s not reality. The most recent issue of Time magazine contained an article addressing the debt students face after graduating college. It states what we as undergraduates already know to be true: “Recent graduates face a lean job market and heavy debt,” and, “The unemployment rate for recent college graduates in 2010 was at 9.4 percent.” These are sobering statistics and would make any undergraduate student think twice about applying for a loan for a fifth year, as most do not want to accumulate any more debt than they will already have.

Most of us do not become educated simply for the sake of knowledge; we are not students of Plato. Most of us are trying to get our degree because that is the training required for almost any job that will keep us earning a comfortable salary. Many “in-staters” chose to attend U of I because it is a great school for a good value. Education is an investment in our future; the ultimate goal is to get a job doing something you love while simultaneously trying to finish in four years so that you are not further indebted. I believe money is the reason the goal is four years. The goal may have a sad foundation, but I believe that is reality.

*Colleen Stern,*

freshman in AHS