The University has been the focal point of my life for the past five years. Nearly every day I’ve walked, driven or taken a bus to campus.

Mostly this is for class, but I’ve partaken in enough extracurricular activities too. One great thing about the University is the wide array of clubs and events that it manages to house in a decaying, obsolete building.

Freshman year, I would’ve thought that campus was the pinnacle of academic pursuit — a place to exchange ideas and a place to learn about the world, past and present. Needless to say I was disillusioned.

Not anymore. This school has changed me.

Growing up, I always wanted to be a Duck. One of my fondest memories was covering Oregon football for our middle school’s painfully low-budget morning show. Joey Harrington this and Bowl Championship Series that.

I knew one day I’d be a Duck and I reveled in the thought. Hell, once the time came, I only applied to Oregon. I thought of Lewis and Clark and the University of Washington, but ultimately didn’t send the applications.

Now that my time here is almost over, that warm, fuzzy feeling is long gone. The school spirit I once espoused loudly and proudly is done.

Don’t get me wrong, I recognize the value that the University has, and I would be remiss to suggest that I didn’t learn new things, gain insight, meet awesome people or be given a platform to write on a weekly basis. All of these things I cherish.

But at what cost?

This year alone, the amount of incredible, noteworthy insanity that has transpired on this campus is too long to list.

Computer “hacking,” money laundering, election postponement and biased ballot wording to name a few.

At some point, you have to ask yourself if this is what you really deserve.

Do you really deserve parking permits that cost hundreds of dollars just for the chance to park on campus despite the clear lack of available spaces?

Or an EMU that, for all intents and purposes, hasn’t been considered state-of-the-art since a little after the second World War?

Better yet, do you deserve a student government that has been involved in more negative headlines than positive?

Just on Monday, there was an accusation of even further impropriety by the newly appointed justice Cedar Cosner. Given the track record of the Constitution Court, I’m certain that nothing will happen that won’t either be undone by the ASUO or the ruling be so completely off the mark that my successor will be delirious from trying to make sense of their decision. @@http://www.uoregon.edu/findpeople/person/Cedar*[email protected]@ @@http://asuo.uoregon.edu/concourt.php@@

I hate that my education came at such a high cost. And it’s only continuing to get higher. Because what else were you planning to spend that extra $500 to $1,000 on anyway?

But by all means continue to sit idly by and take it. Or continue to vote for students that promise to end tuition hikes by appealing to state senators and board members who, without hesitation, raise tuition time and again despite making up only a fraction of the budget the University gets.

Clearly, that strategy is working.

Do we as students deserve a board that fires our president without input from the community that the president serves? Or decides to institute a further level of bureaucracy in the university system that complains of a lack of funding?

Stop me if at any time any of this sounds agreeable.

Are you content that much of the value of a degree from the University isn’t from the renowned academics but rather from a football team that has emerged on the national stage as a perennial championship contender?

Despite my aforementioned love for Duck football, I can’t say I’m especially thrilled by the notion.

The school can’t even get graduation correct. “Sure, let’s hold it on a Monday in the middle of June, it’s not like the friends or family of these graduates have anything else going on a weekday,” some brilliant event coordinator somewhere said.

I mentioned last week that the University does, in fact, have good teachers. For the most part, I’ve been satisfied in the classroom despite having been disappointed outside of it.

But at the end of the day, college isn’t just summed up by the school work or classroom experience nor the prowess of the instructor.

Instead it is the culmination of all the events that happen to a person that make up the “college experience.”

Perhaps by the time my kids are college-aged the University will be different and will have reached its full potential and be a top-tier institution.

Until then, I’ll just look at my student debt total, shed a single tear, put my feet up and reassure myself it was worth it.

Right?


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