Every so often, I’ll get some email - and regular mail – from my college. Actually, I have been contacted regarding both my undergraduate and graduate schools. Generally, these are updates on what’s new there, or things of that nature. This can be interesting sometimes.
Many times, however, the thoughts one might get when getting such mail might center around one inevitable conclusion: should I give money to my college?
I have to say, I had some great experience in both by undergrad and graduate programs. Some great times and resulting friendships of course are great to have. Beyond that, let’s get to the other obvious benefit: the actual education itself! The specifics learned in class and homework are one thing, but the comprehensive education, perspective, and interpersonal skills that education gives can truly help set us on a good path. Much can be written on this, which I might do in future posts.
So yes, I greatly value education and am very thankful for it.
Does this mean I should give money to my school?
The best way I can answer this, based on the conclusion I have come to, is that I can give to my school in other ways. I definitely speak well of it, am often more than willing to help via networking with graduates, follow the sports teams with great passion and spirit, and perhaps occasionally spend money on school-related gear. I’m a fan.
In terms of direct contributions, however, I feel like it’s not in the cards right now. There are other things that demand my money these days, including caring for family and saving for retirement. A lot of tuition was paid in the past, so I don’t feel like I’m required to regularly donate anything directly to the school.
Generosity is a really good thing, in my view. But not being eager to donate to your old school is not stingy, and doesn’t indicate a lack of generosity.
Besides, there are other people or entities that I would rather give to anyway. This came to mind just the other day, when I got a random email clear out of the blue from someone I knew from my undergrad fraternity. I haven’t spoken to this person in well over a decade for sure, and the same holds true for the 30 or so other people he also included in the email. Bottom line here is that he notified folks about another old fraternity brother having cancer, along with a suggestion that we buy Christmas gifts for the guy’s family.
I naturally thought this was very cool for him to do, and quickly ordered a gift to be sent to the old schoolmate’s family. Haven’t seen that guy in over 10 years as well, but it felt like the right thing to do.
To me, this is what I would rather do – give to someone I went to school with, who is in a tough place. Or, more generally, to a person or cause that I think truly needs help and where I choose to give.
To the school itself? Well, I am thankful for the experience, and they already got tens of thousands of dollars in the form of tuition!
My Questions for You
Do you give to your college, or any previous school for that matter?
How do you compare giving to a school to giving to other people or causes?