The spring philanthropy magazine for Cal alumni arrived and like all my mags, I carry them around with me and read them while waiting for those damn Muni busses. I should point out that reading the alumni magazine is the exact opposite action of me deleting the UC emails pleading for donations due to drastic cuts in the state budget. At least with the magazine, I enjoy reading about the students, their research, and campus developments.
So I’m reading the magazine and that ongoing debate pops up in my head about which is better: public or private schools? I’m quite schizophrenic on the issue. Whenever I’m talking to someone, I’ve noticed I tend to argue against their preference which means I must be a bitch.
I don’t think I will ever come to a resolution and that’s because, like most two-faced Geminis, I did both. Public for undergrad, private for grad. I should also note that I went to private for high school so I have seriously done it all.
I’d like to pose a question to all you college grads out there. Did any of you despise your education or experience? I would wager that 100% of college grads LOVED / HAD A BLAST or considered it BEST TIME OF MY LIFE / LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE. And why is that? Because you don’t know any different. We didn’t go to multiple colleges. We went to a single one. As for the college transfers, you don’t really say on your resume that you went to community college for a couple years. Hence your college experience is predicated on your final university and so, like everyone, you also LOVED college.
Unlike your career experience where you have plenty of jobs to compare, bosses to abhor, paychecks to scoff at, there isn’t any room for comparison with college. You only went to one. So that’s my very long answer for why I think most people will argue for whatever type of school they went to.
I have a love / hate relationship with Cal. If you’d asked me a few years out of college about my experience, I would’ve been one of those LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE regurgitators. Then I went to grad school, became an alcoholic anorexic party girl, and really did have the BEST TIME OF MY LIFE. Like for realz.
But in all seriousness, here are my personal facts. Berkeley was fucking hard and unless you went to Cal and took an O-Chem or Shakespeare class, then I swear to God, you do not know what hard is. Sure, Cal was a “good value.” But I am tired of that shit. I’m only lucky that Berkeley has extremely high reputational value. That’s what made the cheap tuition worth it. Otherwise, no amount of money is worth throwing at 300+ lecture halls. Who can really learn that way? Besides it is so frustrating graduating from Cal with a mediocre GPA and competing with all the 4.0+ grads from Ivy Leagues who not only earned those grades but probably also learned something while they were at it.
Oh you private schools with your billion dollar endowments. Others jest about your ivory towers, your educational coddling, those fine cars littering the parking lots. But at the end of the day, private schools will fight all evil (i.e., recessions) to get their students and alumni jobs and all the resources they need. Isn’t that what we want from our alma maters? Sure I will be paying student loans for the rest of my life (that’s not far from the truth), but more often than not, I think it was worth it.
Not to end on a sour note about Cal and public schools, while I am not the biggest proponent of sending our future leaders to be educated there, I am fiercely proud to be a Cal Bear. I care about the school and donate to prove it. And these facts certainly help the cause.
Cal ranked #4 after Harvard, MIT, and Cambridge as the most reputable university in the world.
Despite Cal’s piddly $2.6 billion endowment versus Harvard’s $27 billion and Stanford’s $16 billion, we compete with those same schools in attracting the best students and faculty and maintaining our highly-ranked programs.
Cal enrolls more low-income students than all eight Ivy League schools plus Stanford combined.