|Saint Anselm College, Mancheseter NH- winter|
I went here (see above) for college. It's a good college; I received an excellent education and I don't regret for a moment that I went there. I made some great friends, learned more about myself and my abilities than I thought possible and found my faith there. It was not cheap. It was not free. And it did not let everyone in. I received a scholarship for some of my tuition because throughout high school, I was a hard worker and knew that I wanted to go to college. As the youngest of three, college was not a given. Paying for it was certainly going to come down to me (mom & dad helped, alot. More than they should have, realistically), and I'm still paying it. I wore the same jeans for 4 years, I had the meal plan, cigarettes and a keg party ($3 for a cup) were my budgeted items. I saved all summer for book money. I walked and bummed rides to my jobs when I couldn't swing gas. I had jobs.
Where is this conversation going? I was in Boston earlier in the week for work and drove past the Occupy Boston movement and saw the following scene: a student, with a bullhorn, in $100 sneakers (PC's a sneaker junkie-- i know these were not cheapo kicks, definitely a Bodega buy), a $200 NorthFace jacket, D&G sunglasses ... yelling "College is a RIGHT, not for the rich and white." Note: I think this young man was white.
I get it. I do. College costs a small fortune today. So does rent, milk, bread, gasoline and haircuts. But, college is not a right. College is a privilege; if you are smart, capable and interested in learning, you should be in college. How many of my fellow students did I see that were partying away their parents money? Too many. Did I think they deserved to be there? No. My college roomie, Mandi, had a great sign in our room: $20,000. It was a daily reminder to us about why we were there and the price we were paying.
Also, what happened to skilled labor and learning a trade? PC started college and left, knowing that his interest level (and capacity at the time to stay in school) was a waste of his money and his parents'. So he left. He worked a lot of jobs, but he made ends meet, he lived on his own and now, he's "skilled labor" and a supervisor. Why did we make it a bad thing if Susie wants to be a hairdresser and Bobby wants to be a plumber?
It all comes down to each child being a "special snowflake." I don't want to seem harsh (and I'm not a parent, so feel free to come down on my non-mommyness, you wouldn't be the first), but not everyone should go to college. Our society needs people to mow lawns, fix plumbing, build houses, cut hair, pave roads, drive buses, and carry the mail. We need to recognize the good, honest hard work that goes into working a trade.
My message to our friend at Occupy Boston? You are not the special snowflake your mom told you that you are. And google the Bill of Rights.