It seems that these ideas about college life just won’t die. No matter how hard reality presses in.
1) “College is a party, a time of self discovery”:
This is a myth that fuels many movies and TV shows where college students hop from bed to bed, drink like fish, smoke like chimneys and do very little actual studying. Class outside, no bells, “Buffy Studies”, it’s nothing like the hell that was high school.
The truth is that college is supposed to prepare you for the real world. Students who party hardy and get A’s are either working their asses off (and damaging their livers) or are taking the fluff electives so that Mom and Dad don’t pull them out of school.
The STEM fields require lots of hours in and out of the classroom. At least 1-2 hours of homework for every hour in class. Plus tests, midterms, papers and lab courses. It’s a pyramid, the freshman level classes are intro and easy. Sophomore level you get introduced to your field. Junior year is where you get into the meat of your subject. Lecture classes of 10-15 students are not uncommon. Senior year is when you should be taking work study and writing a thesis or doing a big project. That is your resume for when you get into the workforce.
You have to have experience in your field before an employer will hire you. I met geology students who worked in Antarctica, Italy and Hawaii BEFORE they started their senior year. You have pre-med students who wear themselves out with volunteer hours or biology projects (or both). Bio and CS students who have papers or programs submitted to and published in professional journals.
What does partying and the easy A courses get you? A whole lot of debt for nothing. If you can’t write an essay, you have nothing published and have no experience beyond sitting in one place for 3-4 hours a day, why should anyone hire you?
Student loan debt can’t be charged off and it’s explained many, many times that you MUST repay those loans. Stop trying to act like the rich kids with trust funds.
2) “College is where you learn politics”:
This started in the 1960’s. The left found a ready supply of protestors with the Draft and the war in Vietnam. This continues to this day. Fueled by student loans, leftist 60’s dinosaurs and Marxist bullshitters continue to preach to young adults far from home. The message is clear: believe what I say and you will get an A.
It’s true that some students find that they can be open and free in an out of state school as opposed to the small town they grew up in. But really, is a five to six figure debt worth self discovery?
As for the politics, it ain’t the ivory tower for nothing. Most professors in the humanities subscribe to the leftist ideology because that was a safe berth for the hippies of the 60’s. The meme that liberals “care” more about social problems and the poor was born on college campuses.
The truth is that most of America wants nothing to do with the Marxist bullshit you will find in most colleges. Why is OWS failing? When liberals admit that they want to take everything you have, that they hate private property (unless it’s theirs), when they state their REAL beliefs, people tune them out.
3) “College should be/is free”:
I blame the student loan industry for this one. They, in conjunction with the teacher’s unions and academia, oversold student loans and college degrees. Sure, if you have skills that can get your hired, you can pay off the debt. But fluff courses and leftist agitprop has no market value in 2011/2012. Sorry if you took “_____ Studies”.
An employer needs workers who have skills. Workers who will show up on time and those who can work according to the schedule he/she needs. Work is work. You can’t wear what you want, work when you want. Many employers don’t care if you have kids or problems getting up in the morning. Taking fluff courses and going to class in your PJ’s is the mark of a child.
Back to student loans: so you now have no real skills. But you have a five to six figure debt. Too bad. Ya see, all those cool facilities and staff that taught you the fluff courses got paid by that huge loan. The bank and the federal gov’ment will get it’s money. Yes college was “free”, just fill out the FAFSA and you get your tuition paid (plus a housing too). So colleges raised tuition. Many bought cool stuff for the student body (because the students demanded it). The students got the debt.
You got a nice degree. Dress how you want, act how you want. You got to party. However to an employer, you’re damaged goods.
Show up to any job interview looking like a slob/slacker and you won’t get hired. Show the employer a resume or a degree with skills they can’t use and you won’t get hired no matter how good you look or how bad you need that job. And yet you have to pay off that loan. So sad.
4) “I’ll work at a non-profit”:
Oh how I’d love to slap those kids in the face with a leather glove.
If you major in something like Human Rights and Global Justice, you might as well go sleep in a tent somewhere, because you will have no employable skills, and while there might be a Santa Claus, there is not a line of NGOs waiting to hire you. —Kenneth Anderson
Most non-profits (the ones that aren’t political shills) are just like businesses. But with out the profit thingy. Dress codes, long hours and (wait for it) LOW WAGES!
Seriously, how do you expect a “non-profit” to work?
Many live off the goodwill of the communities they are based in. That means this economy has screwed many charities (which is what a non-profit is) hard.
So how do many non-profits with staff get the money to work? Most are run just like a business. Dress codes, codes of conduct, long freaking hours.
I worked for a non-profit mental health clinic for the whopping sum of $7.00 an hour. They had me working 25-30 hours a week. I got the job because they needed me, but they could only pay me so much, when the money was tight I was not working. I was in college at the time so no biggie. My boss just had a kid (that’s why I was hired) and her boss was a therapist AND an administrator. She managed four other therapists and three case managers.
She’d work till 1 AM doing paperwork and intakes. Some of the patients were so bad that many had been homeless. On top of that, the therapists were on call in case the local police needed them. They passed around a beeper, each took their turn being on-call. They hated that beeper but it paid the bills. They made ends meet by having many volunteers work who did odd jobs for free. Some were back breaking. I know because I did some of them before I was hired.
Why would a non-profit hire workers if it can get volunteers? Why should you expect high pay when most non-profits are on shoestring budgets? “The Man” is not keeping them down, it’s just a basic fact of life. Most live off what the public feels like donating to the cause.
So if you have dreams of paying off that student loan and trips to Europe while working at “Save the Eels” foundation….
Let me be the one to crush that dream right now. It ain’t gonna happen. Sure you can put in long, long hours and work your way up the ranks. Many veterans who work for non-profits are just that, veterans. They’ve been with them for a hot minute. You are just getting started.
To any college student reading this and saying “fuck this guy”, sure you can take it easy. You might even be squatting in a park. But as you fill out that application for Starbucks, then go home to Ramen from the microwave, remember this. You had your chance. A little research and some legwork and these myths would not have bit you. It’s your fault that you have loads of debt with a useless degree.