As the cold, hard cash slid across the counter, that spirit-crushing weight finally slipped off my back. I was making my final student loan payment and boy-howdy, it felt good.
So good that I temporarily blocked out the fact that the radio career I had gone to school for had ended over a year ago due to re-structuring. Not to mention I was still paying off pizza, beer and books graciously paid for by Aunt Visa.
But that was a simpler time. The tuition freeze was still in effect and it was generally accepted that people wanting to get ahead had three choices. You had to know someone, be rich, or get an education.
Education used to be the only gleam of hope for middle- to low-income families. Go to school and one day you might make enough to afford some luxuries like rent or three meals a day. It's for that reason I believe that school should be free.
Now however, that faint glimmer of hope is gone forever. In 2001, Gordon Campbell and the B.C. Liberals campaigned on a promise to keep tuition fees frozen and increase the quality of education at B.C. colleges and universities.
As any parent or student is well aware, Campbell instead spat on students by increasing tuition fees by 70 per cent for undergraduate programs, and by as much as 150 per cent at B.C. colleges and university-colleges. One hundred and fifty per cent! And it's not over yet: there is still talk of another 35 per cent increase at SFU next fall.
Of course, this had the obvious effect. Now, middle- and lower-class students are leaving school by droves simply because they can't afford it.
Federally, Paul Martin has announced that there is good news for students as they can now have bigger student loans. What? How is a bigger debt for the same piece of paper going to help anyone but the banks?
Bottom line: if you're rich, you're in. Those without pockets yet still possessed with the fire to better yourself with education: more power to you.
Unfortunately, this leaves you seeking alternative fundraising avenues. And barring a full-on scholarship, you're once again forced to rely on sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
First step: become a rock star. If that works, great! If not, remember your math teacher droning on and on with you thinking you'll never use this information in real life? Well that was before you realized you might have sell drugs to go to university. Now your knowledge of grams, ounces and pounds will really help you get ahead.
For those more comfortable with biology, you're in luck as the oldest profession is also hiring - and don't fret, fellas, selling your body for cash isn't just for the ladies. Now you too can afford to pay your tuition one lonely sailor at a time.
If you're uncomfortable, just close your eyes, lean back, think of Gordon Campbell, and pray that it will all be over soon.