I don’t know what to do about my oldest daughter and college. Right now she’s a Junior, and kinda sorta thinks she wants to be a writer.

I went to college with lots and lots of kids who didn’t really know what they wanted to do with their lives, and spent most of their time partying and goofing off. Some failed and got kicked out after their freshman year, while others were on the 5+ year program to earn a degree in utter bullshit. I worked hard, and over the 4 years got all A’s and B’s with the exception of 2 C’s that still haunt me to this day.

I was lucky enough to know I wanted to be some sort of artist from a very young age. I worked at honing my skills all through high school, and after earning a BFA degree got a job as a graphic artist. I’ve been cutting, pasting and designing since 1986 and after those 25 years in the field I make an average to crappy salary.

It’s lead me to believe that my college degree isn’t worth anywhere close to the time and money it took to get it. So my dilemma is, do I send my daughter who doesn’t seem to have a real true passion for what she wants to study, to college? There are several factors to consider.

College is fucking expensive. Crazy, ridiculously, rip off expensive. This is bad news for parents of extremely limited income with a kid who is bright, but not an academic whiz kid. My daughter can pull straight A’s, but gets the occasional B from time to time, and although she is relatively social (in her group of kids) she is not in many clubs and does nothing athletic. While as parents we are thrilled with her, her scholastic resume is luke warm at best for serious scholarship consideration. They like the whole package.

I was told in high school that the reason I failed to make it into the national honor society over kids who had worse grades than me was because they were involved in clubs and activities. I therefore dubbed it the national brown-nose society as lots of pretty girls and boys with average grades got in over those of us with better GPA’s. It makes me wonder if my kid has a chance at any serious money towards college.

On top of the financial handicap, I tend to think that college is a money making scam. How many professions are there that really need a 4 year degree? Business? Bah – you can learn that in 18 months of classes and 2 years experience. Ditto for umpteen other professions. Take my field of graphic design. I could’ve learned all the basic skills I needed in 3 or 4 classes, and then working  would’ve taught me everything else I needed to know. Hell, I knew shit about graphics when I graduated college. I learned 85% of it on the job. I just don’t know if I got that job solely because I had the BFA degree.

My brother in law didn’t go to college and makes more than double of what I make. He earned his salary the way it should be earned; starting small and working hard. He was competent, hard working and friendly and climbed his way up from a starter position to one of responsibility and respect. He learned his trade on the job and learned it well – that’s how 90% if the workforce should be run if you ask me.

I guess college is great for kids whose parents can afford iPhones and AirMacs and trips to Europe. My girl can start at community college and see what piques her interest. On the one hand, it’s a bummer that she may not get that experience of leaving home, setting up your dorm room and knowing that for the first time in your life you are truly on your own. On the other hand, I thought college sucked withe the exception of 2 semesters.

So we will apply for scholarships, and see what happens. I just wish the world didn’t place so much importance on a college degree, especially since it’s so unaffordable and so unimportant.

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