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Monday, July 26, 2021

How to get life skills in college

PJ Media reported, "A Shocking Number of College Grads Wish They Had Been Taught More Life Skills."

This post could be done in 3 words.

Get a job.

You are not taught life skills. You earn them.

Taking out a student loan and living like a trust-fund baby for 4 years not only will cost you twice as much money when you pay it back, but it will rob you of your youthful experience of making every financial mistake known to man. Those mistakes await you when you graduate.

When you are saddled with a mortgage-sized student loan.

In fact, that student loan is a life lesson.

My mother was a saint who raised 5 kids on her own because my father was a bum who refused to pay child support. She needed to move out of her mother's house, which meant she had to build up her credit to qualify for a mortgage. She bought a living room set with pink swivel chairs. Those chairs lasted a week before they were put on the tree lawn. I am sure she was still paying for them two years later.

Lesson learned.

Mom was excellent with money after that.

It is not all about money, either.

My daughter is a successful professor and lawyer. Among her various jobs, she worked in the mailroom at a big law firm in college. She is still friends decades later with a co-worker who also went on to fame and fortune. As I recall her story, there was a prima donna lawyer who had a comeuppance. Bwhaha.

Lesson learned.

At someone else's expense.

The GI Bill, a factory job, and subsequent writing/proofreading jobs paid for my college. And our house. And our cars. And our daughter's birth.

The PJ Media story cited an SWNS Digital story, "81% of recent college grads wish they were taught more life skills before graduation."

The story said, "The top things pollsters feel left in the dark on included how to invest, long-term financial planning, and the best ways to manage their student loan debt. A further three in 10 regret not learning how to budget."

Hint: the best way to pay back a student loan is to not take one in the first place.

But that may mean going to a community college the first couple of years.

So what? English 101 and the rest are pretty much the same

I don't like Dennis Kucinich's politics, but I do like that he went to Cleveland State for three years, and then saved enough money to attend and graduate from the more prestigious Case-Western Reserve University. 

By the way, you can negotiate tuition. Guess whose daughter did?

Joel Kotkin on Friday lamented about "The End of Merit."

He wrote, "The near hysteria, though justifiable, among conservatives concerning the imposition of racialist Critical Race Theory in schools fails to address how this theology both reflects and contributes to the systemic decline of education itself.

"Over time, our educational deficit with other countries, notably China, particularly in the acquisition of practical skills in mathematics, engineering medical technology, and management, has grown, threatening our economic and political pre-eminence. Our competitors, whatever their shortcomings, are focused on economic competition and technological supremacy. In math, the OECD’s 2018 Program for International Student Assessment found the United States was outperformed by 36 countries, not only by China, but also Russia, Italy, France, Finland, Poland, and Canada."

We made college too easy and too universal. You don't pump out millions of graduates each year by teaching science and math. Enter womyn's studies and all the other crap courses.

So we have a bunch of nothing classes and the graduates with these nothing degrees believe they are entitled to six-figure jobs and Caribbean cruises each winter.

My brother-in-law has the Mother Of All Working Your Way Through College Stories.

He graduated from high school in 1957.

He graduated from college with two degrees in 2003.

In between times, he got a job, joined the Army Reserves, married my sister, had 4 kids, built his own house, and rose to supervisor without a degree. He even got a patent along the way, as the company had him research a problem, which he solved.

He entered college at age 60. Got straight A's. He did not need college to teach him life skills. He earned them.

And he taught his eldest grandson the importance of school by doing his college homework alongside the kid who did his high school homework. His grandson went on to college and became quite successful. 

As I said, this post could be done in 3 words. Get a job.

But one of the life skills I have learned is readers want to read more than 3 words. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.

38 comments:

  1. Why do you refer to the “devil’s strip” as a “tree lawn”?

    You’re from NE Ohio.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You show us again what living in StLou has done for you, Jeffery.

      Delete
    2. I mean, tree lawn is the only correct usage, right?

      Delete
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  2. Great column Don. It's easy to disparage American students, but remember that the Leninist's have been corrupting education and these kids for a long time. They are destroying our future treasure.

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  3. I did it a bit differently. I worked 2 full time jobs and a weekend job for 6 months after high school to go to Drexel in Philly. When after 2 years my money ran out, as did my desire for college, I joined the navy rather than be drafted, was trained as a nuclear reactor operator in submarines, got out after 6 years and became a civilian reactor operator, senior operator, then shift supervisor and finally a plant engineer; back in the days when an engineer didn't have to have a degree. Went to night school and received an AA for grins and giggles.
    After another 6 years I joined a major international company as a startup engineer finishing construction and testing systems at fossil and nuclear power plants and eventually became a startup project manager; doing what Trump did with someone else's money. Worked around the country - had 60 mailing addresses - and enjoyed life. My 4 kids are doing fine; the daughter with a trash business, the twins went to college at a low cost southern school graduated and manage facilities with the oldest fighting fires out West and his company supplies water to fight them.
    Life has been pretty good, so far.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roger, understand all you said. Plus, the excessive and constant refresher training you nukes got on the boat, even during offcrew (if you were SSBN) served you well. The ORSE boards for you were like the NTPI for us, but we both learned from those days. And if we had reactor SCRAM during patrol we relied on you big time to get the lights back on and regain propulsion.

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    2. I also went to Drexel, co-op paid my way. Spending money came from working 30 hours a week in the university library.
      Fraternity at $25 per month was my social life.
      Became Professional Engineer in 2 states and retired at 53.

      Delete
  4. Amen! I grew up with the blue collar work ethic. Had my first job at 14 as a mother’s helper. That paid my way through high school, then college by waitressing at the college events center 30 hours a week. Still made the deans list a few semesters and had a great time all semesters. Wouldn’t trade it for a full scholarship. Most of my nieces and nephews don’t work part-time but our daughter babysat, life guarded and nannied for professors in college. She did earn a scholarship but she worked for spending money. Too many were taught it grows on trees.

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  5. These children apparently think that investing and long term financial planning are skills to be learned before they’ve ever held a job and tried to make ends meet.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Get a job.
    Well, they do after graduation.
    Barista. Which is a gussied-up term for Counter Help.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Didn’t know you had a tochter, Big D. Nice!

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  8. Never heard of a tree lawn. What is that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street.

      Delete
  9. Alternate 3 woods: Join the army. I’m not sure that’s a viable way to learn life skills anymore, though. At least not until the next war that actually puts America at risk, which will probably be with China. “Nation building” in some Middle-Eastern sand pile is not the sort of “life skills” that will transfer to Main Street when they return.

    I wanted to go into the Air Force right after college (STEM degree), but since America high-tailed it out of Vietnam right before I graduated, the armed services were shedding GIs, not recruiting more. So I went to work, which was not a new experience for me; I worked in a grocery store while going to high school.

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  10. The military is a great place to learn life skills, plus the G.I. Bill and VA Home Loans are great benefits. I got out and worked my way through college with the G.I.Bill, scholarships, and working all the way up to Graduate studies at Auburn. NO LOANS. When they said I needed to start getting loans I said good-bye and went back to work.

    But, ultimately, a lot of the fault falls on the parents of these kids. They should have prepared them better for life.

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  11. Wanted to join the Navy couldn't due to a farm accident. So I worked through college, then got my commercial pilot license. All out of pocket.Worked for the local newspaper in circulation plus pumping gas at the airport.

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  12. Schools should be focusing on math, science, computer programming, business and history now. No women's, or black, or otherwise woke studies.

    In college I was not that great a student. After being out a few years, working, having a life, I have taken several courses for programming and such. Could not believe just how easy it was to get A's! Straight A's. Imagine that! All you have to do is listen, do the homework and study! Who'd a thought?!

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  13. My granddaughter got a cum laude degree at a prestigious university by going to community college for the first two years, then scholarships and minimal student loan. She has now decided to go to med school and will follow the same path of CC for the BS courses, then finishing out the final couple of years at med school.

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  14. My first job was a Janitor's assistant in a grade school. Later, I worked 3 summers on my U's Poultry Farm. As I keep saying, I was in Poultry Husbandry...until they caught me at it. "That's a joke, son; I say, that there's a JOKE (hat tip to Foghorn Leghorn of Warner Bros. Cartoons.)

    ReplyDelete
  15. “This post could be done in 3 words.
    Get a job.”

    The Silhouettes said it better, though wordier.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Even if you have ambitions to be an artist or photographer your best bet is to intern with an established professional and work for free. This goes for many liberal arts careers. Obtain valuable experience, make valuable contacts, and get real "life experience" without spending a single penny on tuition.

    ReplyDelete
  17. My first job was at Sambo's in Lakeland Florida when I was 15. To my knowledge, there aren't any Sambo's left... imagine that!!! I probably learned more about life working graveyard shifts there that summer than the next two summers that I worked at the School Bus Garage. Polk County had opportunity!!!

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  18. I re-educated myself (second degree) so I'd understand my second career better. Ended up pulling down > 60 grand. My wife did the same.

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  19. The bright side of this situation is a few years from now the chinese won't find any intellectual property to steal.

    ReplyDelete
  20. While I agree that Get A Job will earn a person life skills,
    I truly believe that it is no accident that the vast majority of the proletariat is purposely kept as ignorant as possible regarding financial literacy.
    Public schools aim to produce minimally skilled workers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe that you give too much credit to lefties. It looks like sloth accounts for nearly all the current woes which afflicts this country. Ignorance and covetedness makes up the rest. What is that quote that says something about stupidity accounts for more shit than malice?

      Delete
  21. I wonder how many of these stories are from "boomers"? I read another site that is rather hostile to us boomers since we managed to accumulate wealth and possessions and haven't had the good graces to just HAND them stuff without EARNING it like most of us did! I started at 14 making $.40 per hour at a curb mkt and finally retired as a Controller for a major corporation at age 63. All I had to do was work my way through college, work many crappy jobs, and then got a break and stayed through good times and bad times! Crap, that's almost the same way we just celebrated 46 yrs of MARRIAGE!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Love reading these stories of the different paths people took. My father is a retired doctor with a PhD from Penn State. He would have put all 5 of his children through college so I suppose that would make me "privileged". My little sister followed in his footsteps and is a research director at Yale now, her twin brother did one year of college, dropped out, has been a police dispatcher for 20 years and owns an Aroma Joe's with his partner. My second youngest brother graduated from college, went to imaging school and became an X-ray tech, when he lost his job he had to take a job at a shoe store and a supermarket to make ends meet because he has no other skills. My other brother went to one semester of college, dropped out and went into construction. I hated school, did not go to college and worked mostly in the auto repair industry, but also in commercial kitchens, construction and commercial fishing. I've owned my own auto repair business now for about 12 years and have no debt other than my mortgage. My oldest son worked at a pet store and a farm through high school and was in the US Navy Sea Cadet Corps. He is now a US Marine with no debt and money in the bank. He just bought my wife's 4Runner from her cash. Even though I hate his commander in chief and don't trust the pentagon brass I still couldn't be prouder of him. BTW, when my father moved to a retirement community a few years ago he jokingly asked my contractor brother for a $200k loan until his old house sold. His jaw almost dropped to the floor when my bro said "sure dad, I'll just take it out of my savings account." Like I said, different paths.

    ReplyDelete
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  24. My brother-in-law has the Mother Of All Working Your Way Through College Stories.

    He graduated from high school in 1957.

    He graduated from college with two degrees in 2003.

    I started college in 1964, graduated in 1983. My wife will sometimes tease about my taking 20 years to earn a four year degree. I point out along the way I worked two management jobs, purchased two houses, and served six years in the Navy.

    Life.

    What an experience!

    ReplyDelete
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  26. Reading this post and all the comments, and assuming that the current generation of young people -- or many of them, and especially the elite -- are as defective as they appear to be ... the thought arises: what sort of America will they create when they take over? It's already visibly rotting -- the schools being poisoned with Critical Race Theory, the police handcuffed, the military hollowed out by Political Correctness, public debt soaring to historically-unprecedented levels ... and China on the way up while we're on the way down.

    Not to be an alarmist but ... I think something bad's going to happen.

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