Depends on Your Career Goals
Since two of my kids are at the age where they could be heading off to college, I’m more deeply touched when reading blogs and social network site updates about my friend’s kids leaving the nest to start their college life on campus. I don’t know how many of those kids are certain about the careers they want to pursue and how many are using their freshman year to get the prerequisites out of the way while they try to decide. I’m guessing it may be fair to assume it’s about a 50/50 split. I found an article on Campus Grotto to be interesting.
No, my boys are not headed off to college this week. They aren’t tossing their stuff in a dorm room and settling in. Unfortunately, they couldn’t even if they had wanted to. You see, some kids find learning very difficult. What comes easily to most is a real struggle for others. When this happens, it’s sad that these kids essentially give up – especially on subjects that aren’t necessary for their career choice. When this happens, grades plummet, ultimately leaving the students without enough credits to graduate with their class. Enter the GED!
Sadly for many, another reason for not heading off to college immediately after graduating is the cost. Sure there are student loans, and student loans are viewed as “good debt”, but it is debt just the same. Some simply can afford it due to already existing debt. Despite what the government thinks based on the income of the prospective student’s parents alone, that income-debt ratio is the killer! We make too much money in the eyes of the government to qualify for any grants. The bottom line, without taking out a Plus Loan as parents for one of our boys alone was a monthly payment of more than half our mortgage payment! For this reason, he decided to work more first to save money.
The typical four-year college plan doesn’t fit either of our boys’ career goals. We still have three years before our first daughter has this decision to make, but with her current goal of Interior Designer, the four-year plan will be the way for her. If she wanted to settle for Interior Decorator, a two-year plan would probably suffice. The boys are very different – one is going for automotive technology, and the other is going for computer technology. Four years of history, science, and literature would be useless for them.
So, while I am concerned that a gap between high school and college education could have a detrimental effect on my boys, I do have to fluff my mother hen feathers in their defense when I feel their motives are under attack. I recently heard something to the effect of, “So when’s that boy of yours going to get his GED and continue his education?” He was just as much serious as he was joking, and I felt my feathers starting to puff out. I understand his concern since my son is dating his daughter, but it’s also a sensitive subject. He may have it set in his mind that there’s only one way to achieve your career goals, and that’s fine if it worked for him. There needs to be a mutual respect for the different paths chosen, though.