Santa Clara University

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The Big Q

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  •  Whose Life is it Anyway?

    Monday, Jul. 22, 2013

    The best student comment on "Whose Life is it Anyway?" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, August 4th, 2013. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates.

     
    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**
     
    Robert is a sophomore in college majoring in accounting. He has never truly been interested in accounting, however. In fact, Robert is very passionate about filmmaking. Since his early years, he has known that he wants to become a director. He is only majoring in accounting at his parent’s wishes.
     
    Robert’s parents are paying for his college, and as a result, he finds himself in a very difficult situation. Since his parents are paying for him to be at college, he understands why they should have some say in his major. At the same time, however, Robert believes that majoring in accounting is a huge waste of time for him, because in the future he knows he doesn’t want anything to do with accounting. 
     
    Since Robert is not interested in accounting, his grades have recently suffered. While his parents stress the importance of getting a high GPA, he has been stuck in the 3.2 range throughout college.
     
    Robert has just gotten his grades back for the spring quarter and he got a 3.1. His parents are upset that he was unable to get better grades. They insist that he can do better and that there is no reason why he isn’t doing so.
     
    Robert finally strikes up the courage to tell his parents that he never wants to become an accountant. He tells them that he wants to become a filmmaker. Robert’s parents tell him this is an impractical dream of his. It should be a hobby not a career path. They insist that he stays in accounting and tell him that if he doesn’t start getting better grades his future is in trouble.
     
    Many parents want to be involved in their child’s college education, especially when they are paying the bills. When is this desire to be involved reasonable guidance and when does it become intrusion? If students are 18 and adults, shouldn’t they be given freedom to be responsible for their own actions? Does Robert’s father have a right to feel upset about his low son’s low GPA? Should he be allowed to decide Robert’s major? What should Robert do?

    Useful Resources: 
     

    Choosing a Major in College: Do Parents Get a Say?

  •  Should College Athletes Be Paid?

    Monday, Oct. 24, 2011

    Contest extended:  Best student comment on "Should College Athletes Be Paid?" wins a $100 gift certificate.  Comments must be received by midnight Nov. 6.

    Jordan’s family never expected to be able to pay for their son to go to college, but because Jordan received a full ride scholarship to play football at a big university, he has now been given an opportunity his family never hoped for.

    However, because his scholarship only covers tuition—and Jordan doesn’t have the time between classes and practices to get a job—he often isn’t able to afford social outings with friends like tickets to the movies or dinner in the city. In fact, he can rarely afford flights home to see his family, too. Still, he enjoys his sociology major and is looking forward to a career as a teacher after college.

    Meanwhile, the university itself is making millions of dollars off of the ticket sales, concessions, and memorabilia that Jordan’s athletic talents have helped stimulate. In fact, the value of Jordan’s scholarship is probably just a tiny fraction of the value that he, as a star running back, generates among the university’s rabid fan base. Thus, is it really fair that he doesn’t receive some form of monetary compensation in addition to his scholarship?

    Here are some resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    The Shame of College Sports

    Should College Athletes Be Paid? Why They Already Are

     

    Photo by Parker Michael Knight available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.