We’ve heard all the arguments and criticism that we can possibly hear about the tuition strike in Québec (or the recently dubbed Maple Spring), but I’m not tired of hearing about it, and I never will be.
This movement is without a doubt revolutionary, and a statement to all levels of government that tuition shouldn’t take a toll on people’s financial (and emotional) stability.
I’m not a Québec student, so I don’t know what it’s like to be paying $2,000 a year for tuition, but I do know what it’s like to wear yourself out trying to pay for an education that may not or may not guarantee you a career.
I know what it’s like to be harassed by the university’s collections office weekly and to have your grades be put on hold because you (only) have $500 left to pay out of the $5,000 total.
And I definitely know what’s like to barely be able to afford an education that means a lot to you.
(I won’t delve into the debate about the recent job cuts and the recession that’s dawning upon us that we’re all pretending doesn’t exist. Not today, anyway.)
This is not about “how much” as much as it is about the selfish idea of cranking up costs with complete disregard to the person paying, it’s as frustrating as your phone company calling and telling you that your bill is increasing – just because – and it doesn’t matter whether you can afford it or not, because it’s happening anyway. You’ll have something to say about it, and you’ll want to make a point.
Students have every right to complain, tuition is not easy to pay – it’s sometimes impossible. And it’s even harder to accept the fact that you’ll be spending the rest of your life trying to pay it back.
Yes, we love overpriced lattés.
Yes, we love drinks on weekends.
We love going out every time we get the chance. What’s a student supposed to do when he’s bombarded with schoolwork for years and when he knows that he’ll graduate only to face more responsibility? And how can a student not complain when he’s going to wake up after graduation to the realization that thousands of dollars worth of debt have to be paid off?
And what else should a student be doing when a big part of his or her post secondary education is about needing, fighting for and making changes?
*A French version be will be blogged this week/Une versions française sera bloguée cette semaine.*