Tag Archives: college

College: Is it really necessary?

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Some friends and I were talking a few days ago and we happened to get on the topic of college. That conversation was probably one of my favorites since I love talking about and understanding the impact that our choices have on our lives and on society as a whole.

So, one of my friends said that he and his wife feel that having a college education is very much needed to get to where you want to be in this life. A few of my friends were torn in what they truly believed or had no real opinion about it one way or another. The majority of my friends felt like most of their parents expected them to go to college and obtain a degree and, as such, they knew they would require this of their own offspring as well. I was joined by only one other friend who felt that while a college degree is great to pursue it is not absolutely necessary for lifelong success.

I’m of the belief that when the Lord has called you to a particular thing He will open the doors – that you will need opened – to get you to where He’s called you to go. God can, will and has already given you certain gifts that will help you on your journey of life. One of my dearest friends, who barely finished high school and is one of the smartest people I know, has a very evident gift of knowledge. A gift of knowledge, for those who don’t know, is having a mind that is able to figure out, quickly learn or just plain know things that most people only know if they’re “formally” taught those things. This is the way that the gift has manifested itself in my friend however, I am sure it can manifest itself in other ways as God wills. All in all, this IS a real gift that can make a person look – and sound – college educated without actually being so.

I understand that it is the goal of colleges and recruiters to enroll as many students as possible. That is their mission and their job and I’m not mad at them for taking their jobs seriously and holding their position in high regards. I’m appreciative to these institutions for being here for the many people who can, will, have been called and do desire to attend college. What frustrates me is that we, as parents, are not truly in prayer for our children and for our children’s futures. What grieves my heart is that we are not consulting God – in everything that we do – in how we are raising, what we are speaking and how we are guiding our children. Since my belief is that not everyone is supposed to go to college, it makes no sense for those individuals to go and put themselves in the position to incur student loans and other debts for an education that they will either never fully use or walk down a path that they’ve not been called to in the first place.

No wonder why so many college students change their majors on average 3 times before settling on one. We are sending our children into the world and expecting them, at 18 years old, to have a well thought out, surefire plan so that we can feel good about sending them out to begin and fulfill that plan. We are not setting our children up for success but rather for failure. If we will be real, we can all see how this is sending a message to our kids that conformity is better than being distinct. This message says, “Don’t have your own dreams, goals or vision, just do what everyone else is doing and be what everyone else is being and everything will be fine. Oh yeah, and God doesn’t need to know about this but you can bring Him along for the ride!” Are we serious?!?

I said all of this to say that it is up to us to understand how we are gifted, know what we have been called to do and to be obedient and walk in that calling and our own individual purpose. I know of so many people who believe if you do not hold a college degree, that you are uneducated and/or unintelligent and thus not on their level. This could not be further from the truth. I also know of those who believe so deeply in being college educated that if, for some reason, they are not able to attend college their identity and self-worth suffers. I was one of those people but thank God for grace!

As you can see, this is one of those topics that I could talk about for hours. It intrigues me, indeed. But enough of my thoughts on the subject, I’d love to get a real dialogue going. Go ahead, chime in and let me know your perspective.

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Is it for you?

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I was recently walking through the hallways of the University where I work and I overheard a young lady speaking on her cell phone. As I got closer I could clearly hear everything she was saying and then something came out of her mouth that kind of shocked me. “College is not for me…I should have listened to my…”. I will not finish the rest because the rest is irrelevant to what I want to speak about today.

Maybe you can see why this shocked me. I rarely hear this type of conversation but, then again, I am not an Advisor or Counselor so I don’t deal with the young adults who are fearful or still trying to navigate this thing called College. Anyway, this one line made me think about my own children getting to this particular stage in their lives and how I should approach something like this. I mean, college is expensive enough already and so many young people are graduating with tons of student loan and other debt. Not to mention how it’s becoming more and more difficult for those with particular degrees to even find work in their field without first needing to obtain more education or some type of work experience. The last thing I want to do is spend money on a college education, for any of my children, if they feel they may be better off gaining experiences in some other way or they want to do things differently than I have already made up in my mind for them to do.

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This, in turn, made me wonder how important college really is. I mean, seriously, I work alongside people who have obtained their Masters and Doctorate degrees and even a woman who has an engineering degree from Penn State (an Engineering degree!!!) yet she only makes $15/hour working as a Website Editor. If that is what a college degree will get my sons or daughters, in the future, then I would be okay with them choosing not to attend college, since most people can make this, and do this particular job, even without a college degree.

Sometimes, I wonder why we put so much pressure on our children to get a college education. Although I am an advocate for a good education, I have found that, sometimes, it is not the degree or the credentials that make a person successful but the person themselves and their experiences.

There are so many people that never graduated from college, and those that never attended college to begin with, that did quite well for themselves. People like Bill Gates, Michael Dell and Steve Jobs, who revolutionized how we use technology. People like Adele, Trace Adkins and Mariah Carey who sang us a new tune. People like Christy Walton who changed the way we shop. And people like Russell Simmons, Walt Disney, Thomas Edison and many more who inspired us to dream and renewed the way we live.

Obviously, I am not saying that if you don’t go to college you will have a successful life but it is also not statistically proven that success is guaranteed when one does go to and graduate from college. There is no rule that says my child will experience a fulfilled life if they do or don’t obtain a college degree. Maybe it is something to think about, especially in this day and age, with college costs skyrocketing as they will continue to do. There are many other ways for our children to be productive and to gain very valuable life skills and educational experiences.

A few things you could do while you are still unsure, or somewhat sure of, what you want to do with your life would be to:

  • Enroll in classes at a community college (since costs are significantly lower there. You can then transfer to a 4-year University when you are sure you want to continue working towards your Bachelors degree);
  • Attend Job Corps;
  • Work a part- or full-time job;
  • See if you can Job Shadow with someone who is already in the job or field that you think you would want to eventually work in;
  • Take time to volunteer;
  • Travel;
  • Or join the Peace Corps.

And if you really are unsure of what you want to do or don’t have the money for college, you could join the military. It is definitely not for everyone (and it is something that should be thought about very seriously before signing up) but you can enlist and obtain a college degree while you serve. Even if you decide not to work on a college degree, you will gain very valuable life and work experience in the military. You can even join the reserves instead of going in as an active duty member.

Would it really be so bad to allow our children to take a year off between high school and college to work or think about what they really want to do before “investing” everything into a college education?

This is definitely a time-sensitive conversation to have  with your children, parents and family members. Not only will talking about this subject allow everyone involved to appropriately prepare for the future, it will also possibly allow our young people to have the time they need to discover their true passions, hidden gifts and talents. Who knows what can happen if these things are realized and truly embraced before starting on the path toward a career and a future?

Money Monday

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I wanted to introduce something new to the blog… an “itinerary” of sorts. I am still thinking about what I would like the topics to be for each day of the week but I pretty much have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday decided. So, today is what I would like to call ‘Money Monday’ and in the coming weeks, months and possibly years, I will be sharing information on all things money and money-related. It may come in the form of a post or in the form of me sharing an article that I have read and giving my own opinion on or even me asking you, my wonderful community, to send in questions concerning budgets, coupons, finances, etc. and my answer or advice to your particular situation.

I am presently taking an FPU class and for those of you that don’t know what that is I will tell you. FPU is Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course that has been taught (and continues to be taught) to millions of people all around the country. It is a 9-week class about saving, spending, budgeting, personal finances, insurance, retirement and how to basically get out of debt (including your mortgage debt). In this class we utilize something known as the Envelope System and I won’t go into this now but I will be sure to post some things about this class and this system in the coming weeks.

My class ends next month so I will probably just do a compilation post of the entire course. I would encourage those of you looking to get out of debt or just needing to be more active and intentional with your personal finances and budget to look into setting aside some time to enroll in this course or to study up on some of Dave Ramsey’s materials. I am sure they will be of great help to you no matter where you are financially.

If you’re not into reading and prefer to listen to audio or watch someone speak, Dave has a call-in radio talk show and also some podcasts that you can download and listen to as you are exercising or driving the kids to school. 🙂 There is even stuff for your kids to never end up in debt and for those of us that have been entrusted, as parents, to guide our kids in “the way that they should go” from a financial standpoint.

So, be sure to leave your questions, topics, concerns below or email them to me at misssatomi1@gmail.com and lets start some discussions about our finances. Maybe what we talk about here will help someone else both now and in the future.