The 3 P’s: how a public-schooled kid can survive Creighton

Part two in a three-part series titled “The 3 P’s: How to survive Creighton while being poor, public-schooled and Protestant.” Check out the first installment, about being a Protestant, here. 

According to the CU Admissions diversity page, 40 percent of Creighton freshman attended Catholic high school, which I am deeming “private school.” Fifty-two percent went to public high school.  (If my math is correct, this leaves eight percent of Creighton freshman who went to a different type of school, which I can only contrive as being a non-religious private high school. Or perhaps they were homeschooled. Who knows?)

I attended public high school, so I suppose that I am technically in the majority at Creighton. It sure doesn’t seem like it, though.  When I was a Welcome Week executive my sophomore year, I was on a 10-person team of undergrads who I called my closest friends. Only three of us went to public school.

Can you spot the public school kids?
Can you spot the public school kids?

I attempted to find similar data for UNK, UNO and UNL but had no luck. I did find, however, a year-old article that states around 10 percent of all US students go to private K-12 schools. That’s four times less than the Creighton rate.

I have nothing against private schools. But I am glad I went to a public school.

Some things you don’t understand when many of your friends went to private high schools:

–       Uniforms. Private school kids love their uniforms, and sometimes even wear their sweaters on a snow day or save their skirts for a costume party. They also have an intense hatred against khaki pants, probably from being forced to wear them most of their lives. I personally like a smart pair of khakis—they can make you look sharp!

–       Girls and not shaving their legs. Okay, I don’t always have smooth legs, but these private school girls almost seem to make it a point of pride to see who can have the hairiest legs. Gross.

–       Traditions/Pride. At Kearney High School, we had some traditions. The senior hallway (what a dumb idea), the Rowdie’s “Trucking” chant at football games, the theater department’s “In the words of Mike Graybach, ‘try not to suck.’” But there is something about being at a private institution that lends itself to a fierce amount of pride and the preservation of traditions. (I know that UNL probably has some awesome traditions, most of which I would assume to be involving alcohol consumption before a football game.) I’m talking annual programs, like the academic convocation or the call to community or even the graduation mass.  Even from an educational and pedagogical standpoint, the values of “Magis” and “Cura Personalis” are very different than pillars like character, excellence, etc. Many of the private school kids come from “feeder schools,” especially ones that are associated with a Catholic, if not Jesuit, university. (Examples: Creighton Prep, Gonzaga Prep, Rockhurst/Notre Dame de Sion, SLUH/Cor Jesu/Visitation/Rosati Kain, Dowling Catholic, Marquette High/DSHA, etc.) These kids already know and respect the traditions. It is strange at first, but once you understand, you will want to preserve and carry them on as well.

–       $$$. Simply put, private school kids are used to paying a lot more for their education.  They are used to buying books in high school, as well as paying this fee and that fee. You will feel like you are being nickeled and dimed to death when you arrive, and in some cases you are. Many people argue that a college education is a college education, no matter what you pay for it. I see both sides, but all I know is I am glad I chose a private university.

–       A great trust in the institution. At public high school, it felt sometimes like the administration was always trying to “pull one over” on the students. You were wary of the principal, no matter how nice a person he or she was, because they were “the man.” You could also sleep soundly at night, knowing that an elected school board held monthly public meetings and had to report their budgets to the people. I don’t know about private high schools, but everyone here just seems to blindly follow and trust that Creighton is using our money wisely, putting proper protocol in place to help us grow and making decisions that will ensure our degree will be worth something. But I am a skeptic.  I have always asked questions. At a private institution, there is no open records rule. Budgets don’t get sent around. As a student reporter, it drove me crazy. I wrote a story about the alcohol-related hospitalization program, and getting info was like pulling teeth.  I’m not insinuating that Creighton is doing anything wrong. I’m just saying undergraduate students trust them wholeheartedly. Maybe it helps that the president is an amiable Jesuit priest with a Twitter account. I just find this complacency strange.

What do you think? Public school kids, does this seem accurate? Private school kids, did I overgeneralize?

The final “P,” poor, will come out tomorrow. 


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