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post #41 of 83

College was hell. Nothing but a big shameful stain, because I couldn't finish it.  My parents were college grads, both were teachers.  All my siblings are college grads. I'm 45 years old and dropping out of college is still the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  My mom was on her way to becoming an alcoholic, she had to get buzzed in order to tell me, drink in hand, she'd finally accepted that it's okay that I wasn't going to college. 

 

Believe me, I wanted to go to college, I'd always wanted to, I'd assumed that's what I'd do.

 

God forbid, any of you shocked that not everyone pushes their kids to go to college, god help your child if they simply cannot cram their square selves into the same round hole you went through. 

post #42 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

College was hell. Nothing but a big shameful stain, because I couldn't finish it.  My parents were college grads, both were teachers.  All my siblings are college grads. I'm 45 years old and dropping out of college is still the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  My mom was on her way to becoming an alcoholic, she had to get buzzed in order to tell me, drink in hand, she'd finally accepted that it's okay that I wasn't going to college. 

 

Believe me, I wanted to go to college, I'd always wanted to, I'd assumed that's what I'd do.

 

God forbid, any of you shocked that not everyone pushes their kids to go to college, god help your child if they simply cannot cram their square selves into the same round hole you went through. 

This is amazing. Every single feeling I had through college, right here, except that I never wanted to go in the first place. I'm sure I only finished because I chose a liberal arts track and I'm really fantastic at bull----ing my way through endless, pointless assignments. I can write my way out of anything. My husband had painstakingly guide me through every math class to get me to scrape a C or D, if I didn't have him tutoring me constantly I'd never have made it no matter how hard I tried.

 

So basically what I learned in college is the importance of being able to say a lot without really saying anything, how to artificially inflate a 1-page essay into 10 and still get an A, and that as long as you're passing the test, learning is not required.

post #43 of 83

I am surprised how many of the comments center around money and the value that the post college job/income brings in relation to the college debt.  

 

So many of the posts, so accurately say...teens should be encouraged to follow their passions!  I keep wondering, though, how many teens are really passionate about being a plumber, or an electrical line worker or a road construction worker???  Sure, you make good money...but to be really passionate it??  With a degree from a higher learning institution, couldn't your interests be better turned into a job you are actually excited and passionate about?

 

I had tons of debt when I graduated and like most of you, I'm not using my degree now because I'm at home with the kids.... but that doesn't mean my degree is invaluable and those years were wasted.  

 

Those debts are easily paid off even with low income jobs assuming you a) pay at least a little more than the minimum, b) ask the debt to be deferred if you have financial problems and c) understand that your first job will be a lower level job because after you learn the trade/get a degree, you need experience to get the glamourous jobs and earn higher wages!

 

College isn't about the cost.... it's about living on your own and with other people and sharing ideas and being excited about the party on the weekend and sitting in classes hearing new ideas and different ways of thinking....It's about discovering yourself.  Yes, it might be challenging (financially and academically), but challenges are meant to be surmounted, they build character.

 

I really can't be upset about the idea that at least some of our nation's teachers earn good money or even that that tuition money helps to drive research and development that generates new technologies and new jobs. 

 
post #44 of 83
Argh. Too many objections, head's going to explode, should be sleeping, have to get up early.

I'll just say that it's naive to think a person can't be excited about doing a great job of laying down a large swath of asphalt.

Do you think those poor plumbers out there are all hating their jobs? Ya think they don't get excited about parties on the weekend??
post #45 of 83
Let's just separate the comparisons between plumbers and the college educated. The college experience can be inspiring and fun and enriching without trivializing a huge, vitally important population of your fellow humans who manage to find passion, satisfaction and pride outside of a university.
post #46 of 83

So far, my issues related to college have been my daughter informing me repeatedly that tech is below her. No one goes to tech, everyone in her graduating class going to college were going to actual colleges, not a technical college. Even for the 2 year degrees(which is what she is going for). Well of course this turned out to be false, I don't know why she had it in her head. She got the LIFE scholarship which is a state scholarship for 3.0gpa in high school. It will pay for almost everything for a two year degree. She finally decided tech is ok after her boyfriend began his enrollment process at a tech college. I don't push college, but if my kids are wanting to do something that requires a degree I would rather them get it in an affordable manner!! And this scholarship is for this fall enrollment so I did encourage her to start in the fall instead of the spring as she had planned.

 

For the pp who claimed student loans weren't that hard to repay...you should read some peoples' experiences trying to repay those things. It can make life hell and make it impossible to have a family. There is only so much time to defer and once it runs out you are screwed. If you have a hard time finding a good enough job, you have to take what you can get, and it's not always enough. Forget it if you have medical problems, then you get to choose between taking care of yourself/kids and paying your student loan. It's just not so easy for everyone, even with careful planning. You never know how your life will turn out...jobwise, healthwise, familywise...

post #47 of 83

This is an interesting discussion.  I understand, practically, why a parent would want their kid to have a plan going into college, but I think some 18 year olds may not be at that point yet.  A lot of people are still figuring out who they are at 18, and a good liberal arts education can give kids the opportunity to learn about several things before choosing something to focus on. 

 

My parents pushed us to go to college.  Both of them had Associate degrees but they struggled with money and insisted that we go for Bachelor's.  At one point in high school I remember telling my mom I wanted to go to massage therapy school.  She said I could do that...but only after getting my BA.  After college I got a job for which a BA was required, though it was not in my field.  My BA is in Theater and I have done theater consistently, but have never managed to make a living from it.  I did end up going to massage school eventually, and loved it, and have worked as a Massage Therapist ever since.  But here's the thing about physical jobs - sometimes your body can't handle it!  I just had to have surgery on my wrist and am currently not able to work.  I no longer consider massage to be a long-term career option, and am currently working on my Master's.

 

I asked my husband what he thought about this topic, and he said he plans to raise our son in an environment where it would seem absurd for him not to go to college.  If you look at statistics, the odds are pretty good for this - he has a PhD and I will have a Master's...although rebellion is always a possibility, I doubt our kid will want to skip college.

 

I think the higher Ed bubble is definitely bursting, and schools will be forced to think creatively and offer more affordable options.  I foresee more development of online education.

 

Sorry for any typos...I only have one usable hand at the moment and I'm not so great at typing this way!

post #48 of 83
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chaika View Post

 

I asked my husband what he thought about this topic, and he said he plans to raise our son in an environment where it would seem absurd for him not to go to college.  If you look at statistics, the odds are pretty good for this - he has a PhD and I will have a Master's...although rebellion is always a possibility, I doubt our kid will want to skip college.

 

I understand where he is coming from, I've seen the stats. But I think that attitude risks this:

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by journeymom View Post

College was hell. Nothing but a big shameful stain, because I couldn't finish it.  My parents were college grads, both were teachers.  All my siblings are college grads. I'm 45 years old and dropping out of college is still the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  My mom was on her way to becoming an alcoholic, she had to get buzzed in order to tell me, drink in hand, she'd finally accepted that it's okay that I wasn't going to college. 

 

College isn't for everybody, and I truly believe that if parents feel that it is the only real option and then have a child who it isn't a great option for, it works out pretty crappy for the kid (and the parent's relationship with the kid).

post #49 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama-noua View Post

College isn't about the cost.... it's about living on your own and with other people and sharing ideas and being excited about the party on the weekend and sitting in classes hearing new ideas and different ways of thinking....It's about discovering yourself.  Yes, it might be challenging (financially and academically), but challenges are meant to be surmounted, they build character.

 

This is a privileged observation, that college isn't about the cost.  For many if not most of us, cost is the bottom line.  "Challenging" doesn't even begin to touch on the reality of tuition plus all the expenses that go with it.

 

Also, I've had the same experience "living on your own", "sharing ideas" and "hearing new ideas and different ways of thinking" by sticking out my thumb and traveling the country.  For free.

 

College can be a good thing, a great thing.  But I do not have the luxury to let it be for "being excited about the party on the weekend".  Nope.  (Addressed to dds):  "Find" yourself on your own dime, thank you.

post #50 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama-noua View Post

I am surprised how many of the comments center around money and the value that the post college job/income brings in relation to the college debt.  

 

So many of the posts, so accurately say...teens should be encouraged to follow their passions!  I keep wondering, though, how many teens are really passionate about being a plumber, or an electrical line worker or a road construction worker???  Sure, you make good money...but to be really passionate it??  With a degree from a higher learning institution, couldn't your interests be better turned into a job you are actually excited and passionate about?

 

My father was a furniture mover for over 40 years. He loved it - the physical labour, the people, the challenges (getting a piano down a curving outdoor stairway isn't easy, and takes mental effort, as well as physical), the driving, the knowledge that he was helping people (no - movers aren't on anyone's list of "helping" professions...but you'd be amazed how much difference they can make in the life of a recent widow who's moving out of her home, or someone who is divorcing or various other people dealing with difficult life transitions). I worked for many years for a packaged office building, where we provided office space and support services (reception, word processing, some basic graphic design, accounting, etc.) for small businesses and a few branch offices. Most of our customers were entrepreneurs. Some had degrees, and some didn't. They were all passionate about what they did...but I never saw one of them who enjoyed their work any more than my dad enjoyed hauling boxes and furniture around and chatting with customers. My dad wasn't stupid, nor was he lacking in intellectual curiousity. He read a lot when he wasn't doing something physical, and he tackled very difficult books. He simply loved his job.

 

Because of my blue collar background, I've known a lot of blue collar workers, and tradespeople. Most of them enjoyed their lives and work every bit as much as anybody I ever met in my own workplaces. My brother owns his own small moving company, which has managed to stay in business for over 20 years.

 

 

I had tons of debt when I graduated and like most of you, I'm not using my degree now because I'm at home with the kids.... but that doesn't mean my degree is invaluable and those years were wasted.  

 

Those debts are easily paid off even with low income jobs assuming you a) pay at least a little more than the minimum, b) ask the debt to be deferred if you have financial problems and c) understand that your first job will be a lower level job because after you learn the trade/get a degree, you need experience to get the glamourous jobs and earn higher wages!

 

College isn't about the cost.... it's about living on your own and with other people and sharing ideas and being excited about the party on the weekend and sitting in classes hearing new ideas and different ways of thinking....It's about discovering yourself.  Yes, it might be challenging (financially and academically), but challenges are meant to be surmounted, they build character.

 

This is one of the things that's always confused me about people who go to college. Life is about discovering yourself. One of ds1's friends went to university (on full scholarships) for a year. I was talking to her a few days ago, and she's about to take her second year off - to work, travel and discover herself. She plans to go back, but didn't feel that she got much out of her first year. I didn't go to university. I spent the years between 18-22 (the typical ages during which someone is getting a four year degree) at a community college (taking basic office skills - really basic stuff I could have learned in high school, if I hadn't wasted my time on university entrance courses), unemployed, working in a vocational workshop for people with mental handicaps, and then my first year at the above-mentioned packaged office building. I got engaged somewhere in there, as well. I went to parties on the weekend. Between work, school (the one year), friends and family, I spent a lot of time with entrepreneurs, students, former hippies (one of my best friends was a former underground comic artist from Michigan), corporate middle managers, a couple of self-made millionaires, furniture movers, a highly regarded psychologist, cycle couriers, drywallers (my ex and his partner), computer programmers....I can't even begin to describe the diversity of the group of people I interacted with on a daily basis. On several occasions, I spent part of my day in a 7,000 sq.ft. penthouse-type condo (furnished with well over a million dollars worth of antiques and collectibles), and the evening in a living room in a crappy part of town with drugs all over the place. I was also reading a minimum of a book a day, mostly science fiction, and being bombarded with new ideas, from both my reading and the wild mix of people I was surrounding myself with.

 

People going through the transition from high school to the rest of life are discovering themselves, and life, whether they go to college or not. Honestly, my time on a college campus was pretty boring in comparison to everything else that went on in my life during that time. That time of life is about transitions and changes, whether one goes to college or not.

 

The living on your own thing doesn't make a lot of sense to me, either. Many, many people go to college while living at home, and many people move out without going to college. 

 

 

I really can't be upset about the idea that at least some of our nation's teachers earn good money or even that that tuition money helps to drive research and development that generates new technologies and new jobs. 

 

Did someone in this thread suggest that teachers shouldn't earn good money, or that universities shouldn't be able to do R&D? I'm not sure where this comment came from.

 
post #51 of 83

I am at least "pushing" an associate's degree. The high schools in our area have a program where they will pay for kids to take classes at community college. I fully expect our children to participate.

post #52 of 83

This discussion is getting really interesting!

I completely agree that you can be passionate about your work whether you went to college or not.  Everyone needs to find the right place for them to use their abilities and talents.

I absolutely loved being a speech therapist, my husband loves being his own boss in his law firm where he mostly helps elderly people and families with special needs children ( he would hate being any other kind of lawyer).

But I also know my uncle LOVED being a NJ transit bus driver.  He loved driving, he loved meeting new people every day, and it funded a very nice retirement on a lake in NH!

My dad loved being a financial executive in NYC for many years.  It excited him and was challenging, and he looked forward to going every day.  Until a new CEO took over, who wasn't honest or trustworthy, and my dad then counted the days to retirement.  While he admits that he couldn't have gotten the job without a degree, he also says he learned very little in college or graduate school that helped him in his work.

As for the debt incurred and how hard it is to pay off, I would caution people on this front, including my own children.  When my husband and I married, he was in his last semester of law school, and 6 months later we had a huge debt we had to begin paying back, whether he had gotten a job or not!  It took us 10 years to pay back, and it seriously impacted our decisions and timing about buying a home and having our first baby.  Maybe this wouldn't have been as difficult if I was willing to work full time when having a family, but staying home was more important to me than the money.  Was it worth it?  In hindsight, I believe it was because it allowed him to make a very good living and support a big family, but those first 10 years were HARD!

I think the most important thing that we as parents need to do is to lead our children on the road to being happy, productive, responsible adult members of society.  But there are so many ways to get there, and each child's road may be different.  We need to be open and honest about how best to help each child get where they want to be.

I'll get off my soap box now :)

post #53 of 83

Oh, and to the person who mentioned not minding if the college teachers made good money from the tuition, you might like to know that most college professors are adjunct, meaning they teach one, two, or even three classes per semester without any job security or benefits of any kind.  They only begin to make decent money when they become full professors as their full-time job.  The likelihood of getting this kind of a position has gone down since Obamacare, as all colleges are trying to keep costs down by only hiring part-time employees so they don't have to  provide benefits.

 

As an example, I used to teach 2 classes a semester at a local state college, making $1200 per class (this was 1999).  When I added up how many hours of work, and subtracted the cost of gas and tolls, it turned out to be about $1.75 per hour!

 

My husband will teach his first class at a law school next semester, and he will actually loose money doing it!

The colleges are NOT giving the money to the teachers.

post #54 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihave7kids View Post

While he admits that he couldn't have gotten the job without a degree, he also says he learned very little in college or graduate school that helped him in his work.

 

I've heard this from a fairly large number of people over the years, mostly in the business world. I know we had an employee at one firm I worked for, who was hired straight out of university. He got hired at a salary of about $10K more than I was making (after about 12 years of related experience). He performed one task over and over and I commented to my manager (who had both a degree and years of experience) that I had to admit that I had no idea how to do the work he was doing. She said, "he couldn't do what you do, and I could teach you to do his job in a couple of hours". He had the degree, but he didn't really add any value to our company. (I'm not saying this is always the case, or that people don't work hard for their degrees. I just feel there's a whole belief system built around having a degree, and some of the assumptions underlying that system are faulty.)

post #55 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihave7kids View Post

Oh, and to the person who mentioned not minding if the college teachers made good money from the tuition, you might like to know that most college professors are adjunct, meaning they teach one, two, or even three classes per semester without any job security or benefits of any kind.  They only begin to make decent money when they become full professors as their full-time job.  The likelihood of getting this kind of a position has gone down since Obamacare, as all colleges are trying to keep costs down by only hiring part-time employees so they don't have to  provide benefits.

 

As an example, I used to teach 2 classes a semester at a local state college, making $1200 per class (this was 1999).  When I added up how many hours of work, and subtracted the cost of gas and tolls, it turned out to be about $1.75 per hour!

 

My husband will teach his first class at a law school next semester, and he will actually loose money doing it!

The colleges are NOT giving the money to the teachers.

 

Even most full-time professors are poorly paid. It is not until you reach tenure and then department head that you are making a handsome living. And that takes many many years and doesn't happen for most. And having been in R&D, a new professor will get a small amount of start-up money, but after that you are on your own. Research is mostly funded by government grants or other organizations (i.e. - American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, ect.). So the bulk of research is not paid for by the university at all. The university provides the building space and bears some operating and liability costs but that is about it.

post #56 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

 

I've heard this from a fairly large number of people over the years, mostly in the business world. I know we had an employee at one firm I worked for, who was hired straight out of university. He got hired at a salary of about $10K more than I was making (after about 12 years of related experience). He performed one task over and over and I commented to my manager (who had both a degree and years of experience) that I had to admit that I had no idea how to do the work he was doing. She said, "he couldn't do what you do, and I could teach you to do his job in a couple of hours". He had the degree, but he didn't really add any value to our company. (I'm not saying this is always the case, or that people don't work hard for their degrees. I just feel there's a whole belief system built around having a degree, and some of the assumptions underlying that system are faulty.)

Definitely a lot of this goes on. And it's crap. But those who opt out of getting the degree for these reasons are going to be disadvantaged in various ways, since this phenomenon sucks but is current reality. So many applicants have degrees that employers can afford to be choosy. 

post #57 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post

I am at least "pushing" an associate's degree. The high schools in our area have a program where they will pay for kids to take classes at community college. I fully expect our children to participate.

I used to feel this way. Then I saw the effect than even old college grades can have when applying for competitive programs. I don't want them going to college until they are truly ready, academically and emotionally. Being willing and able to get great grades is, IMO, worth more than a cheap and early Associate's.

I'm not saying my kids aren't going to do dual-enrollment, just that I'll have to be reasonably sure they're ready, and they're going to have to do well in order to continue with it.
post #58 of 83

I think that a lot of people have plans about what their children will do while in highschool or college, but in the end, if you are truly parenting your child has an individual rather than having a factory mentality to child rearing, they are going to show you what they want and what is best for them when the time comes.

 

Neither of my kids are doing what I had anticipated my offspring would be doing at this stage, but those thoughts and plans were for my theoretical children, not the actually people that I've come to know and love. They are both doing what is right for them right now.

 

Shouldn't that be the goal of APing? That we parent our kids as individuals? That we are still untune with them enough to help them figure out what path is best for them, with acceptance that everyone is different, and different paths are right for different people?
 

post #59 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihave7kids View Post

This discussion is getting really interesting!

I completely agree that you can be passionate about your work whether you went to college or not.  Everyone needs to find the right place for them to use their abilities and talents.

I absolutely loved being a speech therapist, my husband loves being his own boss in his law firm where he mostly helps elderly people and families with special needs children ( he would hate being any other kind of lawyer).

But I also know my uncle LOVED being a NJ transit bus driver.  He loved driving, he loved meeting new people every day, and it funded a very nice retirement on a lake in NH!

My dad loved being a financial executive in NYC for many years.  It excited him and was challenging, and he looked forward to going every day.  Until a new CEO took over, who wasn't honest or trustworthy, and my dad then counted the days to retirement.  While he admits that he couldn't have gotten the job without a degree, he also says he learned very little in college or graduate school that helped him in his work.

As for the debt incurred and how hard it is to pay off, I would caution people on this front, including my own children.  When my husband and I married, he was in his last semester of law school, and 6 months later we had a huge debt we had to begin paying back, whether he had gotten a job or not!  It took us 10 years to pay back, and it seriously impacted our decisions and timing about buying a home and having our first baby.  Maybe this wouldn't have been as difficult if I was willing to work full time when having a family, but staying home was more important to me than the money.  Was it worth it?  In hindsight, I believe it was because it allowed him to make a very good living and support a big family, but those first 10 years were HARD!

I think the most important thing that we as parents need to do is to lead our children on the road to being happy, productive, responsible adult members of society.  But there are so many ways to get there, and each child's road may be different.  We need to be open and honest about how best to help each child get where they want to be.

I'll get off my soap box now :)

 

Love that final statement.

 

It seems like there are so many multi-layered pro's and con's to the college experience presented in this thread that they all need to be included in the conversation with our children.

 

I agree with what many PP's have said, that if a child IS showing a strong inclination in a certain direction, one that clearly makes them feel happy and inspired, that's when it's our job to support them even if it's different from what we thought would be best. And that goes as well for folks who who had an awful college experience; maybe it will go better for your child.

 

There is also a whole separate conversation in here about why education, including its teachers, is so underfunded and exorbitantly expensive in this country.

post #60 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

This is a privileged observation, that college isn't about the cost.  For many if not most of us, cost is the bottom line.  "Challenging" doesn't even begin to touch on the reality of tuition plus all the expenses that go with it.

 

 

 Just FYI, most of the Ivy-League schools will not charge tuition to families making less than $60k.  (And some will throw in housing, as well.)   At state schools, there are potential scholarships, loans, work-study programs, Pell grants, etc.  

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