By: Joncara Marshall (Whetstone Contributor)
Picking a college is like buying a used car.
The dealerships are the campus visits. The dealers are parents, faculty members, staff, and student ambassadors. All of them say you need a college education as much as you need a car; you cannot go anywhere without one.
Not unless you are Steve Jobs who did not finish college. Apparently, he walked to success. Walking is definitely a lot cheaper than paying for gas, just as not going to college is a lot cheaper than paying $20,000 to $28,000, or more, for tuition and fees.
For me, Wesley is like a well-used rental car; all of the benefits with only a few problems. But for others, it is the used car that they thought would run like new.
Talking to students last year, I learned that most of them were dissatisfied with one or more things about Wesley. Some would say that the food was bad compared to what the cafeteria offered during open house days. There were not a lot of things to do either on-campus or in the Dover area. That finding a parking spot can be hard if we do not come early enough. Some of them hated their professors. And after hearing gunshots near the campus last semester, they questioned their safety.
In short, none of the dealers told them about the flaws.
I did not give where I wanted to go to college much thought – a bad mistake for a first-time buyer.
My parents and I toured the University of Delaware but I did not meet all of the requirements. It took a snowy day in February and my mom reminding me that I even bothered to apply to Wesley. The college seemed like a good place to start at and then branch off to somewhere bigger. All I understood was that I had to go to college and, during my senior year of high school, any college no more than two hours away from home would do. So, I happily took the acceptance as a blessing, and went to an open house and a couple of orientations. They did not have to sell the college to me. I was ready.
I like Wesley for almost the same reasons why everyone else does. The campus and classes are small and most of the professors are great. But I sometimes think, “If I did more research, could I have gone to a better school or at least had different options?” Maybe instead of renting a Honda, I could have gotten a used Camaro.
Interviewing students last semester, I sometimes wondered why we even came to Wesley. Why did we choose Wesley as the vehicle to get us where we wanted to go? But I, along with all the other students, chose to be at Wesley. No college is perfect. There will always be boredom, hard professors, and things that do not work. All colleges, from Wesley to Harvard, are used cars meant only to get us somewhere in life.
We have the power to make Wesley the way we want it to be. We can join or start clubs, take trips, stay positive or maybe even try what is offered on campus.
Besides the food, location, and anything else we say about Wesley, which are the little nicks, I think the biggest problem, or the huge dent, is that students are not always willing to talk about what they think. Sure, I am speaking from a newspaper standpoint, and I personally do not always voice my opinion. But we have to ask questions and be more active in our campus life. Talking to friends is a great way to vent but it is not the way to change things.
Wesley, the used car, rougher than some, better than others, needs to be worked on. The renovations have at least given it a new paint job, but it still has a few stains, nicks and dents. For some it is worse than others, but we chose Wesley. Some of us will choose to stay, to continue driving it for a while. Others will transfer, choosing a different car. And then there are those that drop out, either to walk for a while or even ride a bike.
None of us know where we are going, but if we stick with Wesley, why not try to enjoy the ride and even make it better?