Tags: uw

Sierra the Shinobi

The educational dilemma

As a small recap, I have recently been accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the state’s premiere university. I now have to choose between attending UW-Madison or UW-Milwaukee. If my decision were based on the quality of education alone, the decision would be simple. It’s no mystery as to which school offers a better education: that would be UW-Madison. As you probably already know, I plan on studying International Relations with a focus on Politics (as opposed to a focus on economics) as well as Chinese language and culture. I can get a PhD in Chinese at Madison where as I can only get a certificate in general Asian Studies coupled with Chinese language from Milwaukee. The language classes at Milwaukee aren't even as intense as the classes at Madison. What the hell?

Unfortunately for me, the decision is not that easy. Though Madison is somewhat more expensive than Milwaukee, it is not out of my price range - or at least it isn‘t until one considers that the extra cost of living on campus coupled with the price of a meal plan at Madison would run me a couple thousand more in tuition per semester, where as these things would be free to me if I attended Milwaukee. This would firmly place Madison out of my price range, which would also quickly make my decision as to which university to attend.

Things however are not this simple. The reason that room and board and a meal plan would be free to me if I attended UW-Milwaukee is that my mom would move to the Milwaukee area, and I would live at home instead of on campus. My mom wouldn’t be moving just for me though. Her family lives out that way, and now her oldest daughter/my sister lives in Milwaukee too. This is where things get tricky: recently, my mom said that she’d be willing to move closer to Madison if I chose to attend that school. I don’t think that it is right for her to move in the opposite direction of every one who she knows just for one daughter, and I would feel guilty when she quickly became lonely to say the least. However, her moving towards Madison would make it possible for me to live at home, in which case I could afford the better education. Besides, even my mom will admit that no one really comes from Milwaukee to visit us anyway, and we’d only be moving thirty minutes further away from the MKE than we are now. That would be an hour and fifteen minute drive versus a forty five minute dive to Milwaukee.

My mom’s really pressuring me to give Milwaukee a chance, and believe me, I am. I’m trying to consider both schools, pros and cons. To encourage me to choose Milwaukee so that she won't "have to" move towards Madison, my mom keeps saying really depressingly desperate things like, “The mayor is trying to get more Chinese business to come to Milwaukee,” and “I’m sure that Milwaukee will get a lot more classes soon. I bet that they will over haul their program so that it will rival Madison’s! Just give them a chance, you will see.”

Her saying these kinds of things makes me slightly disheartened about the possibility of attending UW-Milwaukee. First off, business is leaving Milwaukee. Second of all, the last time Milwaukee tried to improve their education system, they tried to add a nursing school, but Madison took it. Even if Milwaukee were to randomly choose to over haul their Chinese education out of all of the other educational opportunities and programs available for remodeling, I’m sure that it would take at least a few hundred thousand dollars that the UW system doesn’t have. Even if they were to pursue such a thing, it would take years. I’d already have graduated by the time anything happened, and besides, I don’t think that Milwaukee has it in them to rival Madison in anything anyway. Hell, Milwaukee’s known as “The Brew City,” with more bars per square city block than other city in the US and they can’t even rival Madison (“The Mad City”) as a drunken party school. Furthermore, most of the breweries aren’t even left in Milwaukee; they sold them to South Africa. There goes some more business. Now do you see what I mean by “depressingly desperate” and “disheartened”?

I’m not sure what to do, though I feel like the decision should be so simple. Do I tell my mom to move just for me so that I can pursue the better education? Do I attend Milwaukee whose over all education isn’t horrible, just vastly inferior, especially as far as Chinese is concerned because it makes things easier on the family? I realize that most parents wouldn’t relocate for their kid’s education, so I am completely at my mom’s mercy on this one, and I can’t be anything but grateful that she is even considering moving to help me…but I know that she doesn’t really want to move (though she’s offered to move), and I’m not sure that I should suggest to her that she do so. I'm not sure what to do...