is college worthwhile? on doing life in the 'wrong' order
I wrote this in Fall of 2008, when I was in college, and still believed that college was a worthwhile pursuit.
college is where people go to find themselves. discover things they are passionate about. learn about the things they are interested it, learn about What they are interested in...
it's sad that college has devolved into almost a bare necessity for anyone who wants to make above minimum wage.
also, they tell you when you're a teenager how important it is to go to college, but teenagers don't listen.
they have no concept of how much time and effort is involved in pulling down enough paycheck to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves. they don't spend a lick of time thinking about housing options--buying vs. renting vs. living in college dorms, saving up emergency money, responsibly gaining a good credit rating so they can buy their first car.
at least, i didn't think about those things.
not realistically anyway.
i thought it was pointless to go to college to prove you knew something...because all my years of public school had effectively taught me that that was what all schools were all about:
getting a piece of paper to prove you already knew something.
i thought it should be easy to take a class here and there, plod through the requirements at the snail's pace they require, and finally get a degree that proved i was worthy to earn a living, instead of just a paycheck.
but now i realize what i did not at age 18: that college is a place to find yourself, to push your boundaries, find your limits and your passions, your flaws and your talents, and all that takes Time.
time during which you would be best off not to be inhibited by taking care of children, a husband, a home, pets, the bills, the laundry, the diapers, the dishes, and the list goes on.
that is why they tell teenagers--"go to college!" not "go to college eventually," but, "go now!"
before your life get complicated by all the beautiful things that make life worth living!
i didn't find my passions out on the UT campus, alone and free. but somehow, i did find my way.
i am certainly learning a lot in my art class, but it's not so much from instruction as from the insane amount of time the class demands me to spend doing art.
whether in college or out, if you're Doing what you're passionate about, you're bound to be improving on it.
so yes, i am learning and i'm glad about that. but really, college is not the best place for a married homeschooling mother of three. i don't just have myself to improve anymore--
i have three little people relying on me for their futures, and if there was ever a thing to NOT fail, it's that.
i keep the goal in mind of employability--i will be taken seriously applying for a job with a degree in hand, whereas they would not give the GED-equivalency of a 27 year old mom a second glance.
but working, even doing commercial art, isn't going to be fulfilling any life's passions for me.
it's about making ends meet well enough so we can plan for our future beyond the end of each month.
i want to organize drum circles, build sustainable houses, grow organic veggies and herbs, learn great vegetarian cooking....i want to bellydance, participate in things like the SCA, have time to help with a homeschool co-op, and :GASP: maybe even spend time Raising My Kids.
did you notice?? none of those things have much to do with the business/marketing world of commercial art.
what if i end up with a degree that qualifies me for a job that is almost as soul-crushing as the ones that my Love has been forced to keep for the past year?
well, so what if i do. that's what people have to deal with to survive in an expert-worshipping society.
i just hope that my kids will understand..that they'll see how and why it is Not Generally Advisable to try and put off college til you're boxed in by a lack of decent options.
Wow, I was depressed as fuck back in 2008. Writing things like this to convince myself that my chosen path of misery was actually worthwhile…
Fast-forward to 2016 where I honestly can say I don't give a flying fuck if my kids go to college.
NOT because I don't care about their futures - on the contrary, it's because I care MORE about their futures than just telling them to toe the line and go to college because you’re “supposed to”.
College is NOT the golden ticket it once was.
So I'm not even a little bit fussed about whether my kids are "college-bound".
Oh - and if you’re curious, I ended up getting two college degrees. I use neither.