Being a senior is scary. Whether you’re a fourth-year, a fifth-year, or a super-super senior like me, trying to figure out those last few classes and the big questioning void that comes after graduation can be more than intimidating. It’s exciting, but still intimidating.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the budget crisis definitely is helping. Before I left to study abroad for a year, I was nervous to graduate, get a job, join the ranks of wage-earners and move to Europe. Now I feel like I’m trying to abandon a sinking ship.
I’m sure education in California will pull through, but right now news has been pretty grim: no classes at Cuesta for summer, cut funding at Poly. My friends are getting turned away from double-majors and even minors. Seniors are getting mysterious e-mails that give them registration priority. My professors all get Fridays “off.”
The more I interview students and professors, the more I realize that this feeling of educational distress is mutual. Sixth-year Ian Muir, a fellow super-senior I interviewed about the budget cuts, said he had to almost literally stick his foot in the door to keep “them” from shutting it.
He realized part-way through that he wasn’t happy with his materials engineering major, and wanted to up his biology minor. The problem was, it would take another year.
“You really have to take them by the horns sometimes, and you don’t want to create too much of a ruckus, but sometimes it’s necessary to get what you need,” he said.
In Muir’s case, what he needed was a double major so he could graduate into a field he really wanted to work in.
“Since I’ve been a double major, I’ve had to actively fight Cal Poly,” Muir said. “They want you to be done.”
Business marketing senior Eric O’Brien echoed the concerns of other students I interviewed when he said, “I don’t see how they can say, ‘No, your education is not your right.’”
On the other hand, we’re not paying for our education, or at least, not all of it.
Assistant accounting professor Rodney P. Mock said he thinks there’s a general lack of public knowledge, a disconnect, over how CSU students are actually funded. In reality, the state subsidizes a portion of tuition.
So the smaller budget means less classes for everyone, and just that much more incentive for seniors like me to graduate. Which means I’m just that much closer to moving back to Europe.
Perhaps it’s not all bad.