Public Universities are always getting a shit on for having supposedly lower quality education and lack of personal attention to their students. After three years at a state university, I am well aware of the many flaws these schools have and have personally been screwed by them many times. However, cut us a little slack here people, state schools teach us a lot of things that private school never will, even if these lessons are forced upon us.
The largest drawback to public schools is the constantly shrinking funding from the state, particularly in New Jersey where I proudly go to Rutgers. We have larger and larger freshman classes every year, yet our funding is constantly being cut, forcing the school to cut important educational programs, library hours, and increase class sizes to the point where there are not even enough seats for everyone in the class. When you are sitting in a giant lecture hall with over 500 people, there is no way in hell your professor will remember your face let alone your name or how often you showed up and participated.
Added on to all of that, our career services and academic advising services are a straight up joke. After waiting weeks to get an appointment, which they will probably screw up some how anyway, you go in to have them tell you your resume is bad and to look for jobs online. Hello, why am I paying you to sit here and tell me something my 14-year-old brother could. I have friends at private schools that had their own academic advisor who they knew and could contact whenever; these same schools personally handpick internships and jobs for their students.
Public schools lack that personal attention; turning us into nothing more than an id number and statistic. With so many students and so many different departments each doing their own thing and not communicating with one another, we often get lost in translation leaving us completely fucked for housing, tuition, financial aid, you name it. At Rutgers we have lovingly named this exact situation the “RU SCREW” and it will happen to every single one of us at some point during our years here.
It may sound like public schools are a nightmare any student would want to avoid, but the truth is despite all of those annoying things, I would choose Rutgers over a private school any damn day. I have learned so many things about myself and the real world at Rutgers that I never would have at a private school, where you are sheltered and coddled like little children. College is supposed to prepare us for the real world and guess what guys, the real world fucking blows and will constantly screw you every time you turn around. You can’t have anything handed to you; it’s time to start earning it.
You absolutely will not survive at a public school unless you have the self-motivation and perseverance to work your ass off and demand attention from your professors. Nothing is easy here and nothing will ever be straight out handed to you; we are constantly competing with tens of thousands of students for grades, GPAs, jobs, internships, letters of recommendation, and positions in honors programs and societies. I have gained so much independence and tolerance for others in my first three years here that I would not trade for anything.
The other aspect of public school that I would never give up is the outrageous social life. I’m not saying private schools don’t have parties or even fun crazy parties, but nothing can compare to our nightlife. With over 10,000 students on our campus at any given time, it’s obvious that there is going to be a ridiculous amount of house parties, not to mention Greek life and all the opportunities they offer for getting completely wasted. With so many different people around all the time, every night out can be a completely new adventure where you can make new friends. I love that I don’t go to a small school where anywhere you go it is going to be the same people and those people constantly gossip about the things you do. If I feel like getting ridiculously wasted and making an utter fool out of myself than I can and there is a good chances I will only see a few people I know while I’m out. I’m not blowing up my own spot saying I get blackout drunk and make an ass out of myself regularly, but if I wanted to it’s always good to know I have the option and it wouldn’t be that embarrassing.
Private schools and public schools both have their advantages and negative aspects. I’m not trying to belittle private education at all, I just want the world to give a little love to public schools too. Despite all our challenges, we are still just as successful, intelligent, and well educated as any privately educated student. On top of that, we also have a certain charisma and character that comes out of our struggles. To be completely honest, I feel like private schools are beneficial to everyone, but public schools require a certain confidence and awareness to be successful. We learn how to handle the annoying nuisances and challenges that life throws our way and I honestly believe that if I can survive getting raped by the system for years, I can handle anything the real world tries to throw my way.