Wednesday, April 6, 2016

On Higher Education by Konnie Enos

I recently I came across an article where the TV personality Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs was commenting on his thoughts on “free college education”. Of course with the current political campaign I was a little bit interested, though I only read it because the heading said he was opposed to Bernie Sanders’ ideas.
I thought about my own kids. My oldest child graduates from college on Friday. Her two sisters are either in college or planning to start soon and already know what they will major in. The same can be said for my oldest son who is still in high school. My youngest however, well, he may or may not attend college. Even though he does have an aptitude for computers, I’m not sure he’ll go to college.
Here’s the thing. I don’t care.
I wouldn’t care of any if my kids decided not to go because there are plenty of other ways to get the skills and education you need to be employable.
I have an associate’s degree in both arts and science, and I very nearly earned my bachelor’s degree in arts. I technically have no marketable skills. Not that I don’t have skills, I just don’t have a degree that will get me a job.
My husband has only a handful of college credits, but through job training programs, and on the job experience, he has marketable skills despite the fact he has never earned a college degree.
I have never understood why, as a culture, we are pushing our young adults to go into a huge amount of debt and get this little piece of paper saying they persevered beyond the basic required education. Some people just weren’t cut out for college and there are plenty of necessary jobs out there that will get you through life.
I actually like how my aunt handled getting her three daughters educated. She told them she was going to pay for just one year of cosmetology school then they could work their way through any further education they might want, suggesting they get their LPN as she had done.
Their oldest did as she suggested then, years later, as a single mother, she earned her RN degree. Their second did get her license then got married and raised a large family. Their youngest got her license and went to work. As I understand it, she manages at least a couple of shops today. All three, as far as I know, are happy with their lives.
I know people with mounting college debt. How much smarter would it be to get that education without the debt like my cousin did? But then if college isn’t the thing for you, why go in the first place? Why not do what my youngest cousin did and get marketable skills in a trade school then get to work doing something you actually enjoy?
And think of this, what would this country look like if we had no mechanics, construction workers, plumbers, cosmetologists, nurse’s aides and a host of other jobs you either learn on the job or in trade schools?
So no, I’m not going to push my kids to go to college. Because as I’ve always said no two people are exactly alike so cookie cutter answers cannot possibly be the solution.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

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