Follow by Email

StatCounter

Friday, November 30, 2012

College and Debt



College is the best thing ever -if you can get someone else to pay for it. If you have to go into debt to cover expenses, it's a bad deal.

Yes, there's all these arguments about good jobs, special skills, personal contacts and all that crap. I'm not going there. Plenty of other people go there.

I graduated from High School way back in the dark ages of 1976. That's back when college was supposed to be affordable. It wasn't for me. By working my butt off all summer, I was able to pay for one semester at the local community college -not including books. My parents were in that interesting financial bracket too “rich” for financial aid and too poor to actually pay for college.

Mom always wanted me to be a doctor, but not so badly that she actually saved any money for medical school.

I dropped out before incurring any college debt. It's one thing to go into debt to get that career of your dreams. It's another to go into debt when I wasn't even sure what I wanted to do. Even at 18, I looked at student debt as a trap. Many High School kids don't think of student loans as real debt. It's money they can spend now. Some stranger, “future self,” will get stuck with the bills.

19 years later I had the opportunity to go to college on someone else's nickel. I was being rehabilitated. That was great. I took a wide variety of courses as I had a whole college at my disposal. There were cool and interesting people to meet. It was loads of fun. Of course, going to college at 37 is a bit different than going to college at 18. College students went to college to drink and get laid. I went home to drink and get laid.

I've no regrets for dropping out of college at 18. My life was really interesting. I read a lot of books and learned a lot of things not taught in college. I got married at 20 -and I was ready for it. That didn't stop the adventures or the learning experiences. Financially, I'm probably no worse off than if I'd gone to college. It's hard to judge these things. One way to look at it: I was working and earning money those 4 – 6 years when my friends were in college. Some are better off financially, but nobody else takes a few months off in the winter to go sailing.

If I was graduating from High School today, I'd probably have to make up some story to satisfy my parents. Maybe I'd head out to hike the Appalachian Trail and just keep hiking. Maybe I'm say I'm biking across the country and just not make it back in time for fall semester. Perhaps I'd kayak down the Intra-coastal Waterway all the way down to Key West. Once I hit Key West the odds are I'd be of no use at all to corporate America.

People think it's some sort of rule that if you've got the grades, you have to go to college. Nope. In fact, you might be too smart for college.

-Sixbears

15 comments:

  1. I saw my folks ALMOST bankrupt themselves sending my idiot sister to college. It took her seven years to get a four year degree that she used for five. Years later, she HAS landed a government social-work job that she wouldn't have gotten without a four year degree, though hers is in JOURNALISM! I went to college at age 50 and got one associate degree in IT and one in accounting since the combination would "almost guarantee" me a job. It didn't, and now I'm losing the one I have. I started to build a one-room cabin after high-school, so I could live in the woods and be a hermit. I should have finished it and followed through! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Had you finished that cabin and lived in it for a while, you would have been unfit for normal society.

      Now we've reached the age where "normal" society is no longer fit for us. Go figure.

      Good luck on the job front.

      Delete
  2. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)November 30, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    Graduated high School in '62 when I was seventeen, then to business school. Always had office jobs, always bored to death. Maybe if I had gone to college....but then I wouldn't have the life I have now. And I wouldn't want to change it for anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you wouldn't want to change anything, it must have been the path for you. Sometimes we have to suffer through one thing to get what we really want.

      Delete
  3. I went to college right out of high school and dropped out after 2 years - nothing really interested me. I loved drawing, so went to a vocational college where I earned as Associates in Drafting. Did that for a living for three years, saving money for Engineering degree in college. Spent my accumulated savings ($17,000), only to find Calculus and I are allergic to each other. So I dropped out again, and have spent the past 20 years as a full time draftsman.

    I lost that $17,000, plus other money I could have saved if I had NOT gone back. On the other hand, I know I tried and failed - failure is cool, no regrets. I love drafting, and my current job - I didn't miss a thing either way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you love what you are doing. Funny thing, I enjoyed drafting in high school, took a college course too, but didn't pursue it. Can't go down all the roads.

      Delete
  4. I've been pretty lucky with somebody else paying for college. My culinary degree was paid for mostly (except for bookx) by the National Guard. But it was a gamble. One year in Iraq and I was lucky come home in one piece.
    My Paramedic schooling was paid for by work. And it's been mutually beneficial to both.
    My next plan for education will be getting a degree in Nursing. This time I'll have to pay for it myself. The cost of a two year degree like this will cost a little over 20k. Not looking forward to that loan, but at least with that degree the monetary rewards will make up for it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I figure with that year in Iraq you paid dearly for that education.

      20K for a Nursing degree will more likely pay for itself -unlike 200K for that art history degree. :)

      Delete
  5. If you look at it from a money perspective research shows that the college graduate makes much more money over their life span. However money can't make you happy, at least not truly happy but it can help make you more comfortable and somewhat secure. I have a graduate level degree and what I am finding is that the more educated I am the more unhappy I tend to be as I see all the mismanagement and injustice around me. It is difficult to see how things around you could be better only to be trapped by an imperfect world that always has trade-offs and red tape impossible to overcome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While in the past there was a good chance a college student would make more money over a lifetime, that's not as likely today. Crushing student debt and poor job prospects skew the numbers.

      It might be time for you to break out of the world of red tape and limits you seem to be stuck in. Do what you have to do to make yourself happy. Why suffer for nothing?

      Delete
  6. Not to brag. But I was one of those "gifted ones" in the program from age 5. The college of my choice in the bag before I was ten. Even then it cost to damn much. All I had to promise was a favor in exchange, that I would not be able to refuse. So I refused it..."They" wanted me for the naval academy...I told them to shove it...Told my Dad to help me learn a trade... I didn't master one trade, I mastered a dozen. I joined the army as an enlisted man and refused OCS three times, I refused E-6 3 times too. They cut my orders and I went to town and didn't come back sober for a week. 6 times they busted me back to E-1, but my time in grade put those lost chevrons back in less than 3 months. I do not miss the life I could have had, If I only made that deal with those devils. There really was only one answer possible and I made it. I'm going to hell in a bucket, But I shore did enjoy the ride.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry, I had to reboot the PC. The point I was trying to make is, We as a country are not led by the best and brightest. Anybody with the sense to pour water out of a boot, wouldn't want the job.
    It takes more intelligence to build thing and make things go.
    Many are called, few are chosen, I didn't fall for that line either.
    Some time before the end, I let ya'll know, Why I'm so sure that it is going to end. One thing you can bank on, is that it is going down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sucker is going down.

      You've had a hell of an interesting ride, haven't you? The fun ain't over yet.

      Those who want to invent and make stuff are too busy to want to rule over others. Being a leader is boring.

      Delete
  8. see newsweek may 14, 2012 page 13 cheaper than harvard
    look up on computer edX, project minerva, khan academy, udacity, or coursera for free education.
    deb harvey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are plenty of choices if you want to actually learn stuff instead of just getting a piece of paper from an imporant school.

      Delete