Mikel and I had to drive up to the main campus of Daytona State College this afternoon to take some photographs for my newest book, University of Central Florida Through Time (Fonthill Media, London, 2015). The campus was pretty empty, which was exactly what I needed for the pictures, and it was a lovely afternoon.
Driving around campus, I thought about what an intelligent choice DSC is for so many students. The education has plenty of rigor–I’ve known many very successful people who started out there. It is the smartest bargain, financially, in our area. I was talking just the other day to some top local graduates who could’ve gone to their choice of colleges—one got into Harvard, another into Northwestern—who chose to stay here, live at home, and do two years at DSC instead. I thought, smart.
Part of maturing into an adult is making good fiscal choices. Also, making choices which benefit not only yourself, but others. These students know that it is better for their families, their pockets, and the community at large for them to go to school where the fiscal impact is lowest. I say, “bravo!” These are, mostly, students who have already developed the habit of taking a long and wide view; they prefer not to fly because of the environmental impact and want to minimize travel due to emissions. One young lady explained that if she did go to Northwestern she would be traveling back and forth to visit her family, and she didn’t want to be responsible for that sort of consumption when she can stay right here. She will continue her education at a Florida public university. I couldn’t help feeling inspired by this maturity.
Aside from those illuminating discussions with recent grads, I have been very impressed with the education I, my husband, and some of my children received at DSC. One of the most wonderful things is the diversity, another is that many of the students are working their way through and working hard for their educations. While the academic rigors are there, there’s an added element that the people in those classrooms represent a diversity most of them will run into again and again in America. In the market, in the neighborhood, in the workplace. There are students who got into Ivy schools and chose local; there are senior citizens able to go to college for the first time; there are single parents supporting families and getting their education a class at a time; there are immigrants, Florida natives, refugees from war-torn nations. DSC is a great bargain, and in my opinion an educational institution which prepares learners for the next steps in life and in learning.
People have a lot of reasons for the schools they choose. I’m a fan of people who choose with an eye toward practicality rather than what will look good hanging on a wall. One of our sons chose a small, exclusive college; I know it was the correct choice for him. All I’m saying is: where you go to college has multiple impacts, consider them.
The President has a wonderful plan for making community college or technical school available to all U.S. high school graduates. Fantastic! We can only benefit, and one benefit may be in keeping talented young scholars in their own communities. Tennessee is already offering this, I’m with the President in hoping other states follow that example. Here’s a link: