SAY NO TO COLLEGE Say yes, only after your child has been self supporting for two years. That is one of my pleas to parents. Here is support for that idea.
College means freedom and far too often freedom to party. The social pressure far outweighs academic pressure and as this article points out little is gained by most students who go to college right out of highschool.
My father didn’t care if my brothers went to college. He felt men could always earn a living. His mother had become dependent on the “kindness of strangers” following his father’s death. He was determined his “Curly headed Cowgirl” would never suffer that fate. Now my high school teachers were not so sure I was college material. As I have made clear here and other places I have an invisible handicap–I have two learning disabilities–dyscalcula and dysgraphia.
My dyscalcula takes the form of inverted numbers and the inability to remember formulas. I can be driving down a super highway looking for a connection to I95 and end up in the hinterlands on Route 59. Has happened. It has only been in the past five years that I remember my social security number when asked for it with any degree of accuracy. Dialing phonenumbers or inputting credit card numbers is slow and arduous. For some odd reason, I was good at algebra in high school and the A’s I got in algebra balanced out the D’s in all my other math courses. Still my college boards were pulled down twenty or thirty points because of my math scores.
Then there is my dysgrahia which is the more troubling disability. Those of you who have read my blogs know that at times words are mis-spelled or mis-used and that my punctuation is idiosyncratic to say the least. I caution all who cannot stand grammatical errors and mis-spellings to consider me the carrier of a plague of errors and to avoid my unedited writings at all costs. If I had the proverbial three wishes, the one I would use for personal gain or pleasure would be to have a good copy editor read everything I write before it goes to any one else. My high school English teacher predicted that if I got into college I wouldn’t last beyond the first semester. He was wrong and his prediction was well meant. He was hoping to spur me “to be more caareful.” Unfortunately, when dealing with major learning disabilities that does not work. The brain is doing its thing and all the effort and care in the world doesn’t trump that in many situations and mine is one.
I succeeded at college for three reasons. The first I do have a good problem solving brain and that is probably partially the result of my learning disabilities–you learn if you are not totally defeated to try lots of ways to get where you want. My husband laughs at me, but I know five or six ways to get from my home to most other destinations. He calls me “The Bronx taxi driver.” If you can’t decode numbers, you often end up lost and as you try to find your way learn lots of ways to get around. Secondly, I have a good work ethic. I have been earning my own money since I was 12 years old. Finally, my father’s motto was a job is a job but if you are very lucky you might love what you do. I didn’t particularly want to be a social worker, graduated from college with no other skills and my father had an in with the director of the county’s child welfare services. Once I worked there for six months I was hooked; I had found my passion.
That is why I think college is a waste until a youth has done two things. Learned to support him/her/self and found a passion that will lead to a realistic job. Horses were the passion of my youth and I long dreamed of being a female jockey. But by the age of eleven I was almost six feet tall and know that was not a realistic dreamer. I might have pursued Olympic riding, but that requires lots of money and my parents struggled to pay the rent; in order to ride I mucked out stalls. I would have loved to write professionally, but at that time, there were few jobs writing for women and my dysgraphia was a major barrier. Social work I could do and did.
Colleges and universities are full of “older students.” Every professor knows that usually means an eager learner. I know many will not heed my advice, but still want to put it out there. Don’t pay for college until your child has experiencec paying his/her own way in life. You can let you child live at home, and even not pay rent for the first three months–but thereafter start collecting. In the long run your child will profit and your hard earned money will not be wasted. Stay strong.