I went to college at a Southern Illinois University in the 1980s. It was the second largest university in the state and like most of my 25,000 classmates, I was well aware of the cost involved for me to be there.
At the time, the tuition and fees seemed expensive at $600 per semester. There were a lot of kids who were lucky like me. Lucky that their parents could afford to pay the freight and avoid taking on student loans. Only later in life did I realize that the taxpayers of Illinois made us even luckier by subsidizing the whole enterprise.
I got a pretty good education, but more than that I had a chance to grow and prepare myself for the world.
I learned how to solve problems on my own even if most of them were self-created. I had autonomy and independence on one hand and accountability on the other.
Nobody bent the rules to get me in and all of my accomplishments were mine to own along with my failures.
I’m sure most of my former classmates have a similar story to tell.
I know that my subject Jennifer does. She started at Southern Illinois a few years after I graduated. Like me, she got a solid education on her own merits.
Too many people seem to have forgotten that education is its own reward.
About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2300 completed sessions in all 50 US states.