College…Or Not

I recently read this article in the Washington Post –

Elitists, crybabies and junky degrees

A Trump supporter explains rising conservative anger at American universities.

I don’t agree with the people quoted that colleges are brainwashing young adults and turning them in to liberal elites, but I do agree with the premise that college is not for everyone. Some people should not go to college and that’s OK. Some people should go to college and that is also OK.

I am the only one of my siblings to graduate from college. It doesn’t make me better than them. It doesn’t make me smarter than them(that happened naturally). I am better looking than them, but college had nothing to do with that. I needed to go to college to get where I needed to be in life.  They didn’t need to go to college to get where they needed to be in life. Both situations are fine. We did what was best for us. That’s what everyone should do.

Both of my kids will attend college. I hope they will both graduate. They have aspirations for careers that require a college education and the aptitude to be successful in college. Some kids have aspire to careers where a degree is not necessary. Some kids are not in a place where they would be successful in college. This is all OK.  I think everyone deserves a chance to go to college. I think we should continue funding for grants to help those in need attend college. I just don’t think everyone should go to college.

We need people to become tradesmen. We still need plumber, carpenters, welders, auto mechanics, etc. These are good jobs. These are good jobs that do not require a college degree. Unfortunately, these are becoming jobs that are considered “lesser” and parents try to push kids away from them and in to college. There is no shame in these jobs. We should stop trying to force kids in to college just because we have all decided that everyone needs a college education.

We should let kids go in the direction that will allow them the most success. Why pressure a kid in to college if that is not where they will be successful? Why not guide kids toward the path in life that is best for them instead of the path that makes the parents feel good about themselves?

 

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7 Comments

  1. I read a while back about how in Germany (I think – or some Nordic country!) students are encouraged onto different paths early on, perhaps as soon as deciding which junior high school they’ll attend. The point is to encourage those who are not interested in a career path that requires college to introduce them to some of the many trades and skills that can lead them to employment opportunities. I believe that radical change needs to take place in our inner city schools where we have far too many young people who feel hopeless about their present circumstances and have little or no idea of what their futures could hold beyond what they see right now. College is not the answer for everyone. But supporting many avenues of education and providing grants and low-interest loans for all kinds of training is critical to our country in so many ways.

  2. Yes, yes and so much yes. I didn’t go to college immediately upon graduating HS…I had other things on my mind, lol. I returned to college nine years later and am in a job that I absolutely love (though is frustrating at times). It took working in many fields doing lots of different stuff before I reached a point where I could find my path AND be successful on the journey to get where I am.

    My daughter has a degree (no debt, thank goodness) but is not working in that field. She was bitten by the bug of emergency medicine and chose to pursue that path instead of grad school (which would have ultimately led her to academia and debt). She is happy in her job and feels that she makes a difference every night when she goes to work. I am overjoyed with her choices because she is happy.

    I work in higher ed and I see so many students here that are not here because they want or need to be, but because someone told them they needed to do it. They drift around, accumulating debt with no idea if they will ever find employment that will permit them to repay the loans. I truly think it is unfair to push kids to higher ed without a plan in place and knowledge of the options for employment (with and without degrees).

    My two cents worth, lol.

  3. I know I shouldn’t have gone to college right out of high school. I should have gotten a job and worked for a while. I dropped out mid-way through my junior year and didn’t finish up until I realized that a college degree would help me get a better job than I was getting without one, no matter how smart I was. (And I’m pretty darned smart, if I do say so myself. Hahahahaha.) So I ended up graduating from college 10 years after I graduated from high school. I had no business going right away, but my parents had other ideas.

    My daughter did the college thing, and took one extra year because she changed majors after freshman year. Is she “using” her degree? Sort of. Majoring in writing (not journalism, not mass communication) meant she can write comprehensively and read to learn what she needs to know in any avenue she pursues. Going straight to college was the right thing for her. Of course, she initially started out in fashion design at a primarily arts-focused college. I was so glad they also had the writing program when she decided she really wasn’t that into fashion design. And the child has been a writer since preschool.

  4. Couldn’t agree more. I went to a ridiculous number of years of college – 2 graduate degrees – one of my brothers got an associate’s degree, and the other stopped with a GED. For each of us, that was the level that matched our goals and desires. I did a career in the military, then a second career as a therapist; one brother is an electrician and photonics technician, and the other ended up disabled but was a talented musician and electronic tinkerer.

    Even in my case, I didn’t go straight to college, or rather, I did but dropped out after about six weeks and enlisted in the Marines instead. That turned out to be fortunate, both because I ended up going in completely different directions than I’d original planned (management, education, and psychology vs. engineering) and because it gave me the GI Bill and the Tuition Assistance Program that enabled me to do it all with no student loans.

    Our son went to college on and off over quite a few years and changed majors, starting with chemistry and ending up with a degree in computer science; our daughter still wants to earn a degree but has gotten along fine so far without one (she’s going on 35.) Our grandson is a junior in high school now. He says he wants to go to college but is keeping an open mind about what to study. Whatever he does, we just want him to be fulfilled and happy.

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