This prompt has great timing. I think our graduates today have much more complicated crossroads than my generation did. There has always been a push to influence our kids to graduate high school and go off to college. It’s the mantra that I myself repeated over and over to my kids and my students when I was an elementary teacher. I’m not saying that college is not important anymore, but I do feel something is not as right as it used to be when it comes to being a college graduate. In my day, you graduated college and employment was almost a guarantee, so if you had student loans, you just factored that deduction into your paycheck and paid it like a phone bill.
What has happened to our collegiate system today I wonder. I am a believer that our country was founded on the principal of bettering yourself through education. But have you looked at the price of obtaining a college degree? Is it worth it? Not to mention the many harrowing stories of violence on campuses, and the influences that may not line up with how you raised your child to be. As a parent to my 17 year old, I have taken a step back and quieted the mantra of college, college, college. Because if my seventeen year old comes to me with the idea of wanting to start some kind of business, and makes a proposal on how he plans to make it work, I rather pay for maybe a 2 year Associates degree of some kind, and fork over the rest to the business in mind. It’s hard work one way or another. It’s money, one way or another. It’s satisfaction of being productive, one way or another. It’s finding your “happy” one way or another.
I just heard a story the other day of a girl in Massachusetts who sits outside a Target parking lot asking for money for college. She obtained a 4.0 GPA all through out high school, was involved in sports, but says the scholarships just don’t pay out enough. She now has a go fund me page. I admire her will to get to college, and she probably won’t take it for granted upon getting there. But that brings me to another point. What about the other side we hear of? College professors reporting that kids sit in class with cell phones on and hold the minimal respect for what they have to say. So why are they there? Because if you can’t listen to a professor, how are you going to listen to colleagues and bosses?
College is not for everyone. There’s no guarantee that getting that college degree is going to lead to that great job. And if I’m interviewing a graduate with a 4.0 from Ivy League and one with a 2.5 from Palm Beach State, that’s not any kind of factor to me. So far, they both completed their educational requirements. They are neck and neck in the race. Now I “wanna see what you got?! ” Are you able to communicate well? Are you capable of fulfilling job requirements? Can you think for yourself and make decisions favorable to the company? Can you smile? I’m looking at the whole package baby.
So to our high school graduates of today, my thoughts and prayers are with you. If you are college bound, remember how your parents and grandparents raised you. Focus on your academics, because going to college is a privilege and a result of your hard work. If you are a college graduate (my twenty year old is 2 short semesters away) Congratulations! To tcrossroadscrossroadshose that are not college bound, but want to be productive in something else, my thoughts and prayers are with you as well. Whatever turn, corner , road, bridge or highway you choose, you will arrive at the same place. Welcome to Adulthood.