By October of my senior year of high school, my kitchen table was already littered with postcards, letters, and magazines of potential colleges. Being from North Jersey, I could have easily went to Montclair State or William Paterson and lived at home. But I wanted to go away, to experience college life, and to spend some time away from my parents to grow into an ‘adult.’ I wanted to go far enough to live at school but not far enough to where I couldn’t hop in the car and get home whenever I needed a break.
One day, in the middle of the table, sat a post card from Monmouth University, showcasing the words ‘study at the beach’ and that it was ‘only less than a mile away!’ I obviously liked the beach but I was still a little skeptical. My dad convinced me that we should go and check it out, if anything, I got to miss a day of school. I agreed and we set out early one Fall morning, making our way down the parkway, to take a tour of the campus.
As soon as I set foot on the manicured path, I fell in love. The campus was beautiful, full of colorful flowers, pretty buildings, and helpful students. We toured the communication department, where all the staff seemed eager for you to come to their school. I went home that night, paid the $50 for the application fee, and sent all my information in for early-action (hopeful) acceptance. I should have stopped there.
Throughout my college experience at Monmouth, I’ve seen and learned a lot. Yes, the campus is still beautiful. Yes, we are still close to the beach. But that’s about where my past expectations end. Throughout the last four years, my parents and I have poured enough money into this school to buy another home. And in my eyes, it has absolutely not been worth it.
First off, my parents and I are not stupid; we saw the price tag attached. We knew Monmouth was a private University, which obviously comes at a higher price than state schools.
Something I’ve learned pretty much the first day of classes, is that a high price tag means upper-class people. What I’m saying, plain and simply, is that Monmouth University is a breeding ground for rich, stuck up, and rude people.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to everyone. I’ve met many people that have struggled to come here, are on scholarships, and are just normal, everyday, students. But most aren’t. And in reality, if you disagree with me, you’re probably one of them.
My biggest problem with this school is the people that attend it. This isn’t necessarily the school’s fault, but if you price everything extremely high, who will come? The people that can afford it, of course. And that isn’t me. I came from one of, if not the largest, high schools in New Jersey, with roughly the same amount of kids as Monmouth.
I live in a city, the 11th largest in the state to be exact, and there I saw kids from poverty, kids in gangs, drug dealers, and a lot of struggle, something I can imagine most (again, not all) Monmouth students have never witnessed.
Other than the students, I have found many other flaws in this supposedly picture-perfect University. As I stated before, the campus is indeed lovely. Around Christmas, the pathways are sparkling with lights and Wilson Hall is decorated beautifully. In Spring, there are flowers blooming everywhere. But I’ve been told by multiple sources that that is where a chunk of our tuition money goes. Of course, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere that had garbage laying around, any campus has to be kept up with. But where else does our money go?
Not to any good concerts or events for students, that’s for sure. While other colleges can invite almost any performer they want, Monmouth invites people who are virutally unheard of, or who were popular five-plus years ago. If anyone claims it’s because we are a small school and can’t afford it, that is a blatant lie. We pay an arm and a leg to go here…so again, where does it all go? In four years I have attended almost no school events because nothing has interested me.
Of course, that’s my personal opinion, as this whole piece is. But I know for a fact I’m not the only one who thinks this, and many people attend simply because there is nothing else to do and nowhere else to go. While other schools are having fun at tailgates and concerts, we have a petting zoo. If this is college, why are we treated like children?
At Monmouth University, whether you are their biggest cheerleader or not (which most of you are) you cannot say that we are not babied. I have been marked ‘half an absence’ if I walked into class a minute late. Who starts class a minute after it begins? No one.
Now, I’m not saying you should walk in an hour late, that is absolutely ridiculous and of course disturbs the class. But a minute? We are dropped a letter grade if we miss two classes. Two classes in four months. In a tight-spaced, small college, how do you expect people not to get sick?
What if something comes up, what if a family emergency happens? Of course, many professors accept this and work with you. But I’ve had many professors who do not, by any means, take doctors notes, so if you’re sick, you’re screwed. Again, is missing 10 classes a semester acceptable? No. But two? That’s not reality.
Another thing that is simply not reality is how the school thinks the parking situation is okay. I’ve gotten to school 20 minutes before a class starts and still manage to be late. I know many people that have driven around for so long they’ve simply given up and gone home.
With a school that is almost all commuters, how do they expect us to park with only two student parking lots, one being half the size of the other?
Let us not forget that they constantly have parts of it blocked off for construction, something that has been going on since I started college in 2011. On almost a daily basis, if I don’t catch parking at the right time, I have to stalk people en route to their cars, getting dirty looks and eye rolls along the way.
Because we are a small, private school, I was promised small, intimate classes with ‘professors who care’ and ‘relationships with faculty!’
This just has not been true, at least for me. Again, by no means is this true for every professor I’ve ever had. I’ve met and been taught by some wonderful teachers that I have learned a lot from, and some I have great relationships with. But, in general, many of my professors have been rude, unorganized, and less than caring.
I am fully aware that I am an adult, and by no means do I want or expect to be babied. I can keep track of and do my assignments perfectly fine without the constant aide of a teacher. I do not want someone over my shoulder, checking how I’m doing.
But I also do not think it’s okay when a professor just does not care about their students or grades. I have had a professor say, word for word, “I do not give a shit about you, I’m going to get paid regardless if you all pass or not,” to a class.
I’ve had professors lose assignments and even FINAL PROJECTS and then blame it on me. I had mononucleosis sophomore year and obviously missed classes (but made up every assignment and brought in doctors notes) and had a professor tell me he didn’t care I was sick, it wasn’t his problem, then try to fail me. I’ve had a professor who, even though all my work averaged out to be an A, she gave me a B- because ‘the computer automatically does grades and that’s what it says.’ We all know that’s not true.
Now, as I’ve stated previously, this is all my personal opinion. If you are having a panic attack that I’m being mean about your precious school, look above this article and read the header. It’s called the ‘Opinion’ section for a reason. And I will again state the disclaimer that not all students are rude and stuck up, not all professors have been unorganized and uncaring. I have met some wonderful people here, but most of them I will be glad to leave behind on graduation day and never have to deal with again.
By going to Monmouth, I have missed many of the experiences students at other colleges get to be apart of. In general, I fully regret going here, and even more so, staying here for the last four years.
After all is said and done, I do not want people to think I’m an unappreciative person. I fully understand that I am blessed to have the opportunity to go to college in general, something many people don’t get to do.
I understand that with my degree, I will get to better myself and I could never thank my parents enough for not only helping me pay for my schooling, but supporting me as well.
But for me, Monmouth is not worth the time, effort, or money I’ve put into it. It did not teach me a single thing about reality or being an adult, if anything, it taught me what NOT to do and how NOT to be in life.
I fully understand that college is what you make of it, as is everything in life. But no matter what I have tried to make of Monmouth, it still wouldn’t have changed my opinion.
It’s sad that college is supposed to be some of the best years of your life, but for me, it was the exact opposite. Of course, I have made friends and memories that will stay with me forever.
But on May 20th, while everyone is throwing their hats in the air and crying that their graduating, I will be smiling the largest, knowing that I’m finally moving on with my life.