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Jul 24

…And as I was saying…

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…So I imagine that my last post wasn’t really a surprise to those of you with kids in school, but to those of you who haven’t gotten there yet…

I heard what I would consider a horrible thing today, no not the royals choice of names, but unfortunately it would only be horrible to me and a small group of my friends. To many others it would be another “”Oh yeah” moment.


There’s a young lady who is in the midst of a divorce, she has several children, one of whom just started at a very prestigious art school near me. I have never attended, but having spoken to several of the more mature students has given me the impression that $30,000 a year is not unreasonable. Unlike most schools this place doesn’t go by quarters or semesters they go be degrees. You sign of for an XYZ Degree and according to their records as a full time, student 12 months a year attendance you should finish in 3 ½ years, costing about $105,000. But their job placement is supposed to be amazing, starting salaries as high as $30,0000 to start!

      OK, I know the money isn’t as shocking anymore, but since you do not get to attach an MD. After your name when you leave this school that still seems a tad high! But maybe I’m old fashioned. Back to the story, when mom decided to divorce, not dad, she realized that an 18 year old at a school like this doesn’t need a brand new car so she “sells that” (at a loss I’m sure) and puts him in a used car. Pretty sensible even with the loss. It turns out that Gram-pa is footing the bill for school. All mom has to do is pay room and board. So she finds him a nice apartment, close by, but of newer construction (granite counters, stainless appliances, built in broadband, the usual), that is actually bigger and NICER than my first house.

      So everything seems great, until the other day when ½ way through the FIRST term, gram-pa gets a letter from the school saying that Jr. is flunking all his classes, oh yeah, and with an attendance of less than 50% that may be considered a contributing factor. Gram-pa being of a more knowledgeable and more sensible generation immediately turns off the tuition tap. Now Jr. has nothing to do all day, because he cant go to school, but he hasn’t found a job yet either. Which is fine for a young man who has his car packed and is ready to move back into moms basement, but he’s not, and mom’s not doing a darn thing about it.

      Maybe if SHE follows in Gram-pas footsteps he’ll change his mind? OOOO Wait, there is one snag to THAT plan. See he found a 38 year old sugar momma who has no problems with him staying at her place…

 

Back to our ORIGINAL challenges…

 

      #3 Unless you have a wealthy parent, there are some schools that should be avoided like the plague.  In the United States today, there are dozens of schools where tuition, room and board total more than $50,000 a year, and only a handful of those schools provide a top notch education. What’s worse is that MANY specialized schools who offer “job placement” in careers that are ‘new’ and ‘cutting edge’ and have cool sounding names like “Anime Graphic Engineering Assistant”, actually have the gaul to charge that much WITHOUT room and board! At least in the old days Jr. would have had actual pencils to sharpen, I don’t even know WHAT he would do in that position, besides make sure the Red Bull is cold.

      But as my above story illustrates, even when you HAVE the wealth (grand)parents, that does NOT guarantee you a good education or THAT your smart enough to take advantage of it. For years I questioned why on earth they gave entrance exams to college kids. I man these folks just spent 12 years going to school, how could they NOT pass? Then I realized that as good as though tests may have been for ‘placement’ there was nothing on them about having the actual desire or motivation to attend class OR get something out of it!

      You want to motivate people? Take Mr or Mrs college student, and add up their grants, scholarships and every penny that SOMEONE else gave them for school, (even great grannys savings bonds) and if they make a D they have to go get a job and pay back every single PENNY, plus raise their grades! Because if their grades DONT go up, then all public assistance is terminated in perpetuity AND their lenders call their student loans due! Maybe THAT will act as a motivation test? Probably cut down on the number of professional students we have.

#4 Our parents and our grandparents paid far less for their college educations than we do today.  Back in 1952, a full year of tuition at Harvard was only $600. Today, it is over $35,000. This is true, and actually once you add in books, that $35k is not Harvard but almost ANY state university. “Oh but our grand parents didn’t have quantum physics to pass…” You know what you’re absolutely right, they didn’t. Instead they took the college information that they DID learn and applied some creativity and DEVELOPED QUANTUM PHYSICS! I’d much rather spend my day trying to prove that Physics works than trying to invent it from SCRATCH!

But your absolutely right, there are some classes that are much harder today than they were 50 years ago, once you take away the laptop, calculators and internet connections and replace them with pencils, graph paper and slide rules! Until that time, I think its pretty fair to say that the classes that challenged great gram-pa are still challenging your happy buffoon today! I remember taking a physics class in college (in the early 80’s) where the first 2 weeks was on how to USE a slide rule. Something my dad learned in high school was now part of the college curriculum.

“But they have computers everywhere, why would I have to learn all that old stuff?” I had an amazing higher math theory professor, truly a genius, and he explained that you learned Calc I in Calc II and Algebra in Calc I and so on, because until the next class it was all still rote repetition and theory, the next class was applications. He further explained that it wasn’t just about the material that you were taught as much as it was the mental maturity you developed in performing the calculations yourself! This same professor once gave a final exam with one question on it. It was open book, open discussion he suggested we work in groups.

Mind you this was a decade BEFORE the internet, so there were 6 of us working on this for 6 days, 12 – 18 hours a day (did I mention it was 80% of our final grade?), late on Sunday night, before the answers were due on Monday Rich found in the back of a very dusty old math book, in the library, its where we met to study, the fact that we had been working on Fermat’s Theorem, which at the time had NO SOLUTION. See that’s what the professor was looking form, he needed this group of math geniuses that he had created to recognize and admit that the issue was unsolvable and turn that in as the answer. Now Fermat’s has been proven since then and all is right with the world, but it was the maturity that we went through while working that problem that did so MUCH for all of us who chose not to give up.

But maybe THATS the answer, get a loan, go to school and then when it gets hard, just give up!

Or maybe you should just pick and excuse, any excuse, but make it a good one. Cause you’re going to need it a lot in the coming days!