America traditionally believes in education. It is the foundation of the American spirit in a country of immigrants: you can flourish if you go to college. Countless movies and books about inner-city kids getting scholarships to the Ivy League all preach success if you work hard.
But is it true? Academics will cross analyze the latest round of SAT scores and admission rates. Parents will bemoan the raise in tuition costs. Journalists will follow Harvard University’s every move including their latest to “abolish” early admission policies. Everyone will have something to say about affirmative action in higher education.
Who’s missing? The students. They’re the ones consuming education. They’re the ones making the grade. They’re the ones who are in the system. So why not ask them if their education is paying off.
Students come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. So how does this half-asian kid from San Francisco attempt to speak for all college students? I won’t pretend to. But what gives me insight into the crazed world of higher education is that I am embedded in it and I have made it. Many would even say I am successful. Middlebury is a top liberal arts school, even if my Chinese mother gladly reminds me it is, alas, not in the Ivy League. So I know what it takes and what it means to be here. I count my lucky stars each day for growing up in family that didn’t need to struggle as much to send me to school. And so I don’t tell stories of overcoming obstacles but instead offer another prospective, perhaps one less told yet equally valid.
I kindly welcome you as we journey into the depths of education from inside the classroom, from inside my mind.