My worlds are colliding: When I was a child, I read “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” and it gave me hope. I’d always liked poetry and wrote (and still write) poems…especially when I need to buoy my spirit. I truly believe that her story made me believe that despite my circumstances, everything was going to be ok. That propelled me to college (among other supportive factors, of course). While in college, I had an opportunity to hear her speak. I had a aisle seat. As she exited to thunderous applause, she stopped and put her hand on my shoulder and said “thank you baby”. I think I would have been ok if I died right then and there! (Note to God: glad I didn’t.)

Today I am listening to the Diane Rehm show. The panel is discussing new data on whether college is worth the debt. My husband and I will tell anyone that we truly value higher education. We don’t feel that we “got out of it” what we were promised economically, but what we did receive was invaluable. Now we are living in different times. And as parents we don’t know if or how we will be able to ensure our son has an affordable and VALUABLE college experience.

Was it “worth it” for me? Without any doubt…YES. It paid dividends that one moment when SHE touched me (physically touched me…ME…!!). And my education continues to give me more than I ever expected when I sat at the kitchen table and filled out that college application (just to get my mother off my back). I met my husband at a party on campus,  I made friends that I still hold dear,  I read good books, listen to the news (critically), I can argue with confidence (and sometimes grace), I have empathy, I appreciate music of all kinds, the list goes on and on.

I think college IS for everyone. Not every college is for everyone. The growth and extension of knowledge should be “afforded” to anyone who wants it. I think Margurite Ann Johnson would feel the same.