Alternative to college for new "UNteenagers" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 05-13-2011, 07:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i am at a community college and i come across a few kids who are there because that's the only alternative offered to them.

 

they are scary smart people. they will do college. but not right now. the ones who do stick out are m i s e r a b l e.

 

they come and talk to me coz they see how committed i am and wish they could be that way.

 

they have taken hard classes - but 'learning' is not a challenge to them.

 

what alternatives are there for kids like them. kids who are questioning life and seeking a deeper meaning?

 

i kinda feel obligated to help them find an answer.

 

or at least a pointer to guide them. i dont really want to give them the answer. but help them with a few pointers.

 

one of these kids really make me think. he really does. question every word i speak. he is 19 and scary smart - but not academically interested.

 

any thoughts mamas? they are all welcome.


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#2 of 15 Old 05-13-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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Travel! Get out of the country and live on a shoestring somewhere that will challenge their realities. Travel isn't cheap, but it's not impossible to save for a year and get to travel for a few months if you are careful.  I can't recommend it highly enough. 


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#3 of 15 Old 05-13-2011, 11:17 AM
 
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That was my first reaction too - see the world.  Save up and backpack/hostel/volunteer.  It's life-changing and liberating and somehow makes the whole world seem more real and better. :)

 

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#4 of 15 Old 05-13-2011, 12:47 PM
 
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My cousin needed to take some time off of college to get his head together.  He signed up for AmeriCorps.  He moved across the country, into a very different environment and through that year of work (maybe it was 1.5 yr) had a life changing experience.


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#5 of 15 Old 05-13-2011, 01:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post


i kinda feel obligated to help them find an answer.

 

or at least a pointer to guide them. i dont really want to give them the answer. but help them with a few pointers.


Why?  I mean why do you need to help them find an answer?  These are journeys of finding oneself during the process of growing up.  I think you just need to lend an ear and let them work it out themselves.  In fact it's almost critical that they work it out themselves.  This is part of becoming an adult.  I'd just leave it alone.  In general people don't want others meddling with their lives.  Just because someone says something about a crossroads that they may be contemplating or whatnot doesn't mean they are inviting you to solve their problems.

 

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#6 of 15 Old 05-13-2011, 03:04 PM
 
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As an older student perhaps the best knowledge you could impart would be the fact that without an education life can be much more challenging. Maybe they need a little reminder that it is a lot easier to go to school before they have spouses, children, and a whole other host of responsibilities.

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#7 of 15 Old 05-13-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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Yes, I agree with encouraging them to stay in school - maybe transfer to a university and find a program of study that does intrigue them, considering they are so brilliant.  Otherwise, traveling and starting up their own business, comes to mind, w/o giving up their education...  But really, I wouldn't personally suggest dropping out of school.  It's okay if they are not sure what they want to do, and are simply going through the motions right now b/c they don't have a full-time job they have to be at, don't have a family to support, and are maybe even going to school b/c it's what is expected of them.  Since it's community college, and these are teens/young adults, it's not like they are racking up a ton of debt and wasting away the years, yk?  Learning, even inside the walls of an institution, will be something they will always be grateful for - no matter what other adventures are in store for them in the future. 

 

If anything (and this coming from an older student who is married w/four kids), I would tell them I wish I had finished school before starting a family or a career/job.  I would enjoy the free time of being young and able to pursue whatever interested me, while still thinking ahead to my future and how it will benefit me.  They can always do other things later on in life - but as you know, it's that much harder to go back to school and complete your education once the real world gets in the way.  Marriage, babies, bills, and so on. 


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#8 of 15 Old 05-13-2011, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by velochic View Post

Why?  I mean why do you need to help them find an answer?  These are journeys of finding oneself during the process of growing up.  I think you just need to lend an ear and let them work it out themselves.  In fact it's almost critical that they work it out themselves.  This is part of becoming an adult.  I'd just leave it alone.  In general people don't want others meddling with their lives.  Just because someone says something about a crossroads that they may be contemplating or whatnot doesn't mean they are inviting you to solve their problems.


because they are asking for it. because they are asking for guidance and i dont feel qualified to do it. i talk to many. all they want is a listening ear. but some ask for help. what can they do. one of them because of his small body i hooked him up with rock climbers just to try it and he is really enjoying himself at the moment.

 

the reason why i posted here is this one young man. he is taking drugs and looking at the army. he is in a v. unhealthy situation.

 

all i want him to see are that there are alternative stuff out there. i have been listening for a while. but now he's asking for what could he do. he questions everything.
 

is the only answer travel? he has to take care of his mom now so he doesnt want to travel quite yet.


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#9 of 15 Old 05-13-2011, 10:22 PM
 
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Volunteer with the disadvantaged?  Giving to others is very stretching and fulfilling in many ways.  It could be any sort of volunteering that fits well with his time and talents.

 

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#10 of 15 Old 05-14-2011, 11:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post




because they are asking for it. because they are asking for guidance and i dont feel qualified to do it. i talk to many. all they want is a listening ear. but some ask for help. what can they do. one of them because of his small body i hooked him up with rock climbers just to try it and he is really enjoying himself at the moment.

 

the reason why i posted here is this one young man. he is taking drugs and looking at the army. he is in a v. unhealthy situation.

 

all i want him to see are that there are alternative stuff out there. i have been listening for a while. but now he's asking for what could he do. he questions everything.
 

is the only answer travel? he has to take care of his mom now so he doesnt want to travel quite yet.


I'd direct them to whatever resources the school has, then (career counseling, student development, etc.).  That's their job.  The thing is, your experiences aren't going to help a 19 year old smart, but unmotivated kid.  The school's counselors have been trained to help these kids navigate these decisions.  I'd not touch that situation with a 10-foot pole.

 

My nephew is an unemployed 22 yo college drop out, who is now a Marine reserve and cannot even support himself... and he's there now because he sought the advice of unqualified "older friends".  He burned bridges because of this advice and now his only option, he believes, is to go active duty... however, he's been trying to do that for 1.5 years now and they won't take him.  He's really between a rock and a hard place and feels a lot of animosity toward his 30-something friends that, while being well-intentioned, should not have been giving him career advice.

 

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#11 of 15 Old 05-14-2011, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

I'd direct them to whatever resources the school has, then (career counseling, student development, etc.).  That's their job.  The thing is, your experiences aren't going to help a 19 year old smart, but unmotivated kid.  The school's counselors have been trained to help these kids navigate these decisions.  I'd not touch that situation with a 10-foot pole.

he already has and they gave him nothing apart from tips of staying at school. these are the same school counsellors who were forcing a part time student with diabilities to go full time which she did and it put a lot, A LOT of stress on her. he has been looking at the army for a while now. even spoken to a recruiter. his friend was in the army. he is looking at that basically to have something to do and a future education paid for. 

 

the thing i am trying to do is give him options. or direct him to the right people. not really telling him what to do. 
 

 


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#12 of 15 Old 05-17-2011, 09:26 PM
 
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Something that jumped out at me in your first post. If this person is 'scary smart' community college isn't going to challenge him.  So, why is at the CC , is it a matter of funds, did he goof off in high school and its a matter of grades... If he is truly 'scary smart' he should be able to get his grades up, seek out scholarships and get himself to a more challenging university.

The reality of the matter is, this person is an adult and adulthood leads to personal responsibility.  So ya, all those things he was told in jr high and high school are probably coming true.


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#13 of 15 Old 05-18-2011, 03:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

the reason why i posted here is this one young man. he is taking drugs and looking at the army. he is in a v. unhealthy situation.

 

all i want him to see are that there are alternative stuff out there. i have been listening for a while. but now he's asking for what could he do. he questions everything.
 


 

I was actually going to suggest military service. It can be a great motivator and I have seen a lot of really smart kids who had no idea what to do with their lives turn themselves around with the help of the military. There are a lot of great opportunities in the military.

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#14 of 15 Old 05-18-2011, 05:34 AM
 
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Travel, volunteering like Americorps or some other program, WWOOFing, being an au pair, startnig a business. I would still encourage them to not completely rule out school though, because it can be really important. Try finding a university abroad maybe. Some European schools offer different teaching approaches that are more challenging and interesting. I studied for a semester in the Netherlands at a school that used problem based learning. I learned more in the 6 months I was there than in any of my other sester long classes in the US. And I retained more. Alot of foreign students I know/knew complain about the "busy work" in US univeristies and maybe these students you know get tired of it too. (Not trying to put down US univeristies just putting out my experience.)


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#15 of 15 Old 05-18-2011, 09:50 AM
 
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Of course, getting off drugs would be a good place to start. I suspect the military won't take him if he can't even test clean.

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