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View Diary: A Blue-Collar Girl in a White-Collar World (105 comments)

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  •  My son and I are in discussions about this now. (5+ / 0-)

    He's 17 and considering what route he wants to take for his future be that college or tech school or some sort of 'apprentice ship'/starting at the bottom and working his way up. He has the added difficulty of his disability and how that affects him so far as sensory issues and issues dealing with people. Because he started school a year late, he has two more years to figure it out at least before he graduates school. And I've told him he's welcome to work and live at home so he can save up if he wants.
    Hopefully by the time he's graduated and worked a couple of years the economy will have settled a bit and he'll better be able to make a decision.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 11:11:38 AM PDT

    •  Good luck to you (6+ / 0-)

      and your son. Sounds like you're giving him the best support you can, and that he has some viable alternatives to the traditional route if that's what he chooses. It also sounds like whatever he chooses will really help him to secure a career in his field of interest, which is always heartening to hear.

      Not that I disagree with people who choose to go to college purely to broaden their horizons, but... it often feels like many kids who go don't make that informed of a decision. They're really just fulfilling long held expectations that they've internalized, and they can come out the other end with more loss than gain. For example, a friend of mine graduated UCLA with a PolySci major (and 20k + in debt) and told me: "While my classes were fascinating... ultimately all my experience really taught me was that I didn't want to be a politician." Another friend came out of a very expensive art school as an art history major (with 100k + in debt), only to tell me that art wasn't really her passion... she was just expected to pick something, so that's what she decided to pick.

      I guess it left me wondering... if these two (and others) could go back, would they make the same choices? Would the positive experiences they did have outweigh the financial burden and lack of opportunity they garnered as a result, moving into adulthood? Whether homeschooled or traditionally schooled or anything in between, I think it's important for kids to have at least a year outside of school entirely to contemplate how they want to move forward with their life. Working some kind of job might help to temper those thoughts, as well. To me, college isn't simply the "next natural step", it's really a commitment to your future, one way or another. I feel like that warrants a bit more thought, and some time away from the system altogether, before diving back in again with a goal in mind.

      •  Well said! it isn't simply the next natural step.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM, chimene

        It is a commitment to path including a big commitment of financial and psychic resources.  People should "measure twice and cut once" when it comes to that commitment.

        I think the education "industry" contributes to the overhyped "consumption" of college as something everyone should (or even must do) right out of high school.  It keeps the demand jacked up so the "suppliers" (the colleges) can charge a top-dollar premium for what they are offering rather than its real value in a more balanced market.

        I too have seen a number of young adults coming out of college dazed and confused and worse for wear, not really excited about their path forward but just stressed.

        Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

        by leftyparent on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 12:06:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is the crux of our discussions of late. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          leftyparent

          he thinks he needs to choose immediately after or during high school. I've told him he can wait, try out a few jobs, and THEN decide. He may find something that fits him that he didn't expect to. Perhaps some of that is just me not being in a rush for him to be out on his own, but more is that I don't want him to be so in debt from a degree only to find it doesn't work for him, and then have him have trouble getting funding for education if he needs it for something he finds passion in, or not be able to get a job in that field because it doesn't pay enough at the start to deal with student loans. I don't want him finding himself stuck in a job he doesn't like or can't handle. And I don't want him giving up and going on disability because he thinks he can't handle anything. I want to give him that room to experiment and find what works for him.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 12:22:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with your opinion, here (3+ / 0-)

            Your son is no doubt feeling the pressure not just from society, but from his peers. The latter can be the toughest of all at an age when it's very important to feel like you fit in and to feel affirmed by your friends. When I was his age the number one question I was asked by basically everyone I encountered was: "So, where are you going to school?" And even as I grew older, I was asked about what I was majoring in and where. As I mentioned in a previous piece, this could feel very isolating for me and I often outright lied to people or stretched the truth, saying things like: "I'm going to community college for awhile" or "I'm going to take a break and travel" just to evade the inevitable "you need to go to college" lecture. It wasn't until several years in that I started to feel comfortable enough with my choices to speak freely about them; to even wear them with pride.

            I feel for him. I even had one of my closest friends tell me she was afraid I "ruining my life". I knew in my gut that I wasn't, but I just didn't have the vocabulary yet to explain why, and I hadn't been at it long enough to be entirely certain, so that stung. But I don't regret anything, and I really hope your son's able to come to a place where he can see his options for exactly what they're worth.

      •  I'll never forget my first real job after college. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM, leftyparent

        The job description said that the applicant needed a BA or equivalent life experience. I thought that said a lot. I wonder if that same job (entry level Volunteer Organizer for Girl Scouts) would have the same requirement today. Of course, the fact that the job was in Fairbanks, AK might have had something to do with it. Not a lot of job applicants that far north.

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