Hidden Costs I

When planning for the return to academe, the first issue addressed was the expense of the adventure. To my unpracticed eye, that meant tuition and fees. As an adult, there wouldn’t be the additional expense of lodging and meals, since the campus is a very short drive from my home, where my wife generally provides an optimal dining experience as long as I go to the grocery store.

It did not take long to understand the tuition is just the beginning. A few exploratory trips to the campus indicated that parking would be a major issue. My school is located in the middle of a medium sized city, surrounded by neighborhoods and narrow streets. As is true with other schools in similar settings, the surrounding neighborhoods are a mix of private residences and homes “ghettoized” into student housing. That is to say, homes built to house a family now provide residence for many more students than the architect intended. The consequence is that too many cars are forced to fight for parking on those beautiful narrow streets. To the city, this is a golden opportunity to enhance revenue through parking violations. An opportunity that the city does not ever pass up, to the consternation of the students and their parents. Indeed, students cannot register for classes, or even graduate, if parking tickets remain unpaid.

The school does provide access to parking facilities, doled out each semester by seniority, which means it is limited and expensive and not available to underclassmen such as myself. But, it is not as expensive as the rates charged by private landowners, for whom the laws of supply and demand provide validation of their economic beliefs every three months.

Having learned the hard way that the student approach to parking, i.e., park anywhere and let an adult worry about the tickets, is not the optimal approach, I have reluctantly arrived at the conclusion that I will have to pay the city for the right to park in one of its garages. This will, I calculate, add approximately $800 to the cost of education, per semester.


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“Life’s hard, son. It’s harder when you’re stupid.” — The Duke.

Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate,no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament.It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage. - Joseph Addison
The term informavore (also spelled informivore) characterizes an organism that consumes information. It is meant to be a description of human behavior in modern information society, in comparison to omnivore, as a description of humans consuming food. George A. Miller [1] coined the term in 1983 as an analogy to how organisms survive by consuming negative entropy (as suggested by Erwin Schrödinger [2]). Miller states, "Just as the body survives by ingesting negative entropy, so the mind survives by ingesting information. In a very general sense, all higher organisms are informavores." - Wikipedia

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